Infosys blames H-1B visa rejections for attrition

Infosys had to deal with the maximum US visa rejections last year.

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Infosys, the Indian multinational company, holds the high rate of visa rejections last year responsible for its poor employee retention. With US visa rules being tightened, and preference being given to applicants with advanced degrees/postgraduation from American institutes and universities, Infosys had to face the maximum number of visa rejections last year. As many as 2,042 visas were reportedly rejected.

The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that permits American companies to hire foreign workers in positions that require special skills and technical expertise. Other companies that have had to deal with visa denials include TCS, Wipro, Cognizant as well as Tech Mahindra and HCL Technologies in the US. These six companies are amongst the top 30 companies that make up for two-thirds of the denials.

With various administrative hurdles being faced by Indian IT organisations, the process of applying for new visas and extending current ones has become even more cumbersome. Infosys’ attrition had gone up to over 18 per cent in the fourth quarter as compared to 16.6 per cent the same time last year and 17.8 per cent in the third quarter.

Most of the employees are those who have three to five years of experience in the country and two to three years’ experience in the US.

The value proposition that helped retain employees in the past was the opportunity to work abroad. That will clearly not work any longer. A lot of Indian talent is being drawn by global multinationals, such as Walmart, Tesco and Deloitte. Even talent with less than five years of experience, especially in the newer digital and cloud skills, is being pulled by local operations of organisations, such as Amazon.

To check attrition, Infosys has begun offering milestone-based increments. It has tied incentives to digital skill certifications. The Company is also planning to aggressively rotate staff on projects so that everyone gets a chance to experience new technologies and projects.

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