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IT outsourcing industry doing little to prepare for H-1B visa reform

Stephanie Overby | June 24, 2013
Though IT outsourcing vendors and clients cite concern over the potential H-1B visa reform currently heading to the senate for a vote, they are, for the most part, taking a wait-and-see approach and are doing very little to prepare for the possible effects of the visa changes.

"We've been moving very strongly to increase our onshore presence," says Joe Hogan, vice president of global advisory for HCL Technologies, which has delivery centers outside Rochester, N.Y. and in Wake County, N.C. "You have to take a little bit of a wait-and-see approach as it passed through Congress, but we know there will be changes and we need to be in a position to either take advantage of that change or protect our clients accordingly."

"Companies are increasing their onshore presence because of the type of work customers are doing in application development and maintenance requires an onshore, contextually sophisticated developer because applications are so business focused," says Stephanie Moore, president of Baton Rouge, La.-based domestic outsourcing provider Ameritas Technologies which launched last year. "[Potential] visa legislation hasn't driven the development of Ameritas but if it passes it will be positive for domestic development centers."

Moore adds that she'd like to see Indian providers like Infosys spend some of the millions in developer training on U.S. software professionals. "Why can't they commit that money to train U.S. nationals for the onsite positions available?"

Tim Norton, director of vendor management for UPS, says he is watching potential visa reform "like a hawk," but expects vendors to be able to adjust to any changes. "It's going to have a lot to do with how good the vendors are in reacting to it," Norton says. "I'm cautious about increased costs but have a very high expectation that vendors will push for the best leverage possible."

If visa reform isn't enacted this year, Norton expects the issue to come up again next year. "This is a train that's going to keep on coming."


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