Mahindra to boost US investment as it braces for H1B visa cuts

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New York: Mahindra, the Indian cars-to-technology conglomerate, plans to boost US investment as it prepares for the prospect that President Donald Trump will cut quotas for the H1B visas needed to service clients at its outsourcing business.

US investment and employment will be doubled in five years, said Pawan Goenka, managing director at automaker Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd. Mahindra has already invested $1 billion and employs 3,000 people in the country.

The future of the H1B program, which allows US companies to employ foreign workers in specialist roles, has hung over Indian outsourcers since Trump was elected promising to restore jobs for US workers. Tech Mahindra Ltd, the IT services business, has been a top 10 sponsor of visas in the past three years, according to data from myvisajobs.com.

About half of Tech Mahindra’s workers in the US are on H1Bs, president of strategic verticals Lakshmanan Chidambaram told reporters in New York. To prepare for any cut in visas, the company is hiring more Americans and building relationships with schools as it seeks to increase its headcount to 5,000 from 2,300 now.

“It’s misunderstood what Indian tech companies mean for US economy,” said Goenka. “We are creating US jobs, not taking US jobs,” said Goenka, who himself received an H1B visa and eventually got citizenship.

The US is the second biggest market for the Mahindra group and the largest for Tech Mahindra.

“We are a big believer in America,” said group chairman Anand Mahindra, adding liberal education in the US is good for technology talent because it teaches people to think broadly and deal with uncertainties.