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FT: Trump's 'Hire American' Agenda Has Tech Firms Moving to Mexico

FT: Trump's 'Hire American' Agenda Has Tech Firms Moving to Mexico
(Dreamstime)

By    |   Thursday, 04 May 2017 12:01 PM

President Donald Trump’s order to study ways to reform the visa program for foreign workers in the U.S. may inadvertently help Mexico draw more tech jobs, the Financial Times reports.

Technology outsourcers from India, Europe and the U.S. are looking at setting up offices in the Latin American country to provide tech support to U.S. clients, the newspaper said.

Tech Mahindra, one of India’s biggest information technology companies, plans to double its Mexican operations in the next year and a half if the Trump administration places tighter restrictions on Indians seeking skilled H-1B visas.

“We’ve been having several conversations that we want to ramp up the operations in [Latin] America — especially English-speaking operations — because of the current administration,” Arvind Malhotra, global head of strategic accounts and South America at Tech Mahindra, told the FT.

The visa program, signed into law by President George H.W. Bush in 1990, was intended to help U.S. companies cope with labor shortages in fields that needed highly educated workers, like computer science, engineering and research. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agency oversees the program, which grants 85,000 work visas a year through a lottery.

Critics say companies don’t use the H-1B program to hire highly skilled people, and instead get visas to replace American employees with low-paid Indian workers. The jobs require computer skills and a willingness to do monotonous tasks like data entry, transaction processing and document tagging.

Trump has targeted the H-1B program as part of a broader “Buy American, Hire American” agenda to boost jobs growth, particularly in areas that have lost factory work to China and Mexico. The Trump administration is also looking at renegotiating free trade agreements with other countries.

The Mexican IT services industry had $20 billion in sales last year and is set to overtake India’s expansion with 15 percent annual growth, according to HFS Research data cited by the FT. Mexico also is much faster at granting work visas to foreign workers coming from India.

“We’re putting a strategy together with the Mexican consulate to make it easy for people to come work in Jalisco seamlessly, as if they were in Silicon Valley ... or in their home countries,” Jaime Reyes, the secretary of innovation in the Mexican state of Jalisco, told the newspaper. “We will help to establish them with schools and transportation and whatever they need.”

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President Donald Trump's order to study ways to reform the granting of work visas to foreigners may inadvertently help Mexico draw more tech workers, the Financial Times reports.Technology outsourcers from India, Europe and the U.S. are looking at ways to set up offices in...
Donald Trump, Hire American, Mexico, visa
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2017-01-04
Thursday, 04 May 2017 12:01 PM
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