India's second-largest IT firm Infosys on Tuesday said it plans to hire 12,000 American workers over the next two years, taking its hiring commitment in the country to 25,000 over five years. In 2017, Infosys had committed to hiring 10,000 American workers over two years, and has created 13,000 jobs in the US to date.
"Through this expanded commitment, Infosys will hire an additional 12,000 workers by 2022 across a variety of roles," it said in a statement.
"The company will target experienced technology professionals as well as recent graduates from major universities, liberal arts colleges, and community colleges to create the best workforce for the future," Infosys added.
The move comes at a time when the Donald Trump-led US administration has placed a number of restrictions around work visas for H1B visa-holders.
Earlier this year, Trump had issued a proclamation to suspend issuing of H-1B visas -- popular among Indian IT professionals -- along with other foreign work visas for the rest of the year, aimed at helping millions of Americans who have lost their jobs due to the current economic crisis.
In August, some exemptions were made for individuals whose entry to the US would be in "national interest" as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their respective designees.
North America is the largest market for Infosys, accounting for 61.5 per cent of its revenue, followed by Europe (24 per cent), rest of the world (11.6 per cent) and India (2.9 per cent), as on June 30, 2020.
Infosys had 2,39,233 employees at the end of the June 2020 quarter.
"Infosys has been intensely focused on creating jobs in the US for the past three years, and I am proud that this new commitment to hire 12,000 American workers by 2022 expands on that previous initiative," Infosys CEO Salil Parekh said.
Infosys President Ravi Kumar said the commitment to creating 12,000 new American jobs comes at a "critical moment as the COVID-19 pandemic has created economic turmoil".
"While we continue to leverage our established university partnerships to strengthen our talent pool, our recently launched Reskill and Restart platform will play a crucial role in our growth as we meet this commitment.
"We will bring a specific focus on building pathways for those who have been impacted by the economic downturn and look forward to bringing on board individuals without traditional four-year degrees," he said.
Workers who have been left out of the digital economy will now have the opportunity to gain the skills needed for 21st-century careers, he added.
Industry watchers say while IT companies have been ramping up their presence in the US and hiring locals over the past few years to overcome visa-related challenges, these issues could continue particularly during an election year.
Infosys, in its statement on Tuesday, said the company has launched six 'Technology and Innovation Centres' in the US across Indiana, North Carolina, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Texas, and Arizona in the past three years.
These centres are at the forefront of building leading-edge digital capabilities and training the next generation IT talent to support American businesses in an increasingly digital future, it said.
"Infosys' training and education infrastructure has allowed the company to cultivate top tech talent outside of the traditional tech hub geographies and provide American workers with new pathways to transition from conventional jobs across various industries and workstreams to digital and operations jobs of the future," it added.