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Wipro to go for 50% local hiring in US operations

Wipro to go for 50% local hiring in US operations

The country's third-largest software services firm, much like its peers Tata Consultancy Services and Infosys, has been ramping up local hiring and setting up delivery centres in the US to ensure business continuity for clients.

Azim Premji-led software services export firm Wipro believes locals will constitute over 50 per cent of its workforce in the US by June as it invests significantly in the American market, amid tightening of visa norms .

The country's third-largest software services firm, much like its peers Tata Consultancy Services and Infosys , has been ramping up local hiring and setting up delivery centres in the US to ensure business continuity for clients.

 "Our focus on localisation continues in all the key markets. In Q1, we expect to have more than 50 per cent of employees to be locals in our biggest market which is the US," said Wipro CEO and member of the board, Abidali Z Neemuchwala.

He added that Wipro has been investing significantly in the US towards increased hiring, setting up of delivery centres and sustainability initiatives, especially in the area of education. The American region accounted for over 54 per cent of Wipro's $7.7 billion revenue in 2016-17.

Indian technology firms use H-1B visas to send their employees to work at customer sites in the US, which is the largest market for the $150 billion Indian IT export industry. Any change in visa norms can affect the movement of labour as well as spike operational costs for IT players. Critics believe that the prevailing visa regime allows companies to bring in cheap labour from countries like India, which adversely impacts local employment opportunities.

Over the past few weeks, there has been a growing sentiment of protectionism across various markets, including the US, that are seeking to safeguard jobs for locals and raise the bar for foreign workers. On Tuesday, Wipro posted a flat consolidated profit for the quarter ended March at Rs 2,267 crore, compared to Rs 2,257.3 crore reported in the year-ago period.

The total income stood at Rs 15,033.8 crore in the said quarter compared to Rs 14,312.7 crore in the year-ago period, up over 5 per cent. The company, which competes with the likes of TCS and Infosys, has said it will issue bonus shares within the next two months. The move comes as larger peers like TCS and Infosys have already announced mega share buybacks to offer rich returns to shareholders.

"Wipro will offer one bonus share for every one share held," the company said, adding that this was done to encourage participation of small investors, increase liquidity and expand retail shareholder base. For the year ended March 2017, Wipro's profit fell nearly 5 per cent to Rs 8,518 crore.