HCL expanding operations in Canada as H-1B visa issues persist

Vastavam web: HCL Technologies is looking to expand its operations in Canada with the US tightening the reins on H-1B visa eligibility, according to HCL Tech ’s Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) Apparao VV. The uncertainty around the Trump administration’s H-1B visa regulations is forcing companies to get more innovative, especially when it comes to Indian IT services. The H-1B visa rules may not directly impact them, but many have started to prepare for the worst-case scenario — including HCL Technologies.

If it can no longer expand operations in the US, the country’s neighbors seem to be more than willing to accommodate. “We are expanding our operations there. We already have large operations in Mexico — in Guatemala,” HCL Tech’s Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) Apparao VV told Business Insider in an exclusive interview. Setting up operations in countries that are next door to the US is known as near-shore operations. It allows IT employees to be in the same time zone and service clients without being physically present in the US.

The company has also identified some sites within the US itself that are in the same time zone but will be low-cost centres, according to Apparao. “There is some redistribution of the workforce that will happen,” he explained. According to Apparao, it’s not just HCL Tech that’s looking to expand. “Canada has become strategic for companies across the world,” he said. HCL Tech’s peer, Infosys, is also looking at Canada as the next frontier. It has been scoping out locations for a new hub, from Moncton to New Brunswick , to begin incremental hiring. “We have expanded our presence in Mexico and Canada to offer same time-zone services to clients,” Infosys COO Pravin Rao said during the second-quarter earnings call.