LAST_UPDATEThu, 21 Jun 2018 10am

India’s Leading IT Firm Wipro Sacks Hundreds Of Employees

NEW DELHI -- India's third largest software services exporter, Wipro, has sacked hundreds of employees after a performance review, Indian media reported, indicating a stress in the country's information technology (IT) industry.

News agency, Press Trust of India, reported that the Bangalore-based company had fired close to 600 employees, with more to come.

The downsizing followed the United States' (US) move to tighten its visa regime, which had allowed Indian technology companies to hire workers from India for jobs in America.

The US is the top market for the US$150 billion Indian IT services industry.

"Wipro undertakes a rigorous performance appraisal process on a regular basis to align its workforce with the business objectives, strategic priorities of the organisation and requirements of our clients.

"The performance appraisal may also lead to the separation of some employees from the company and these numbers vary from year to year," the company said in a statement, adding that the layoffs were "regular".

An estimated 60 per cent of Indian IT companies' revenue were derived from North America followed by Europe with 20 per cent.

Companies such as Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Infosys and Wipro are likely to be affected by the US' review of the H-1B visa programme, under which, Indian citizens is the largest group to receive US work visas.

Critics say that companies had abused the system to hire cheaper foreign workers at the cost of American employees.

On Tuesday, US President Donald Trump ordered a review of the visa regime to plug the loopholes, so that only highly skilled foreigners would be recruited.

Some Indian companies had pledged to hire more local staff for their US business.

Indian workers also faced immigration curbs in Australia and other countries.

Recently, Australia announced that it had abolished the 457 Visa programme, which allowed businesses to bring temporary foreign workers into Australia for up to four years.

Indian nationals accounted for about one-fourth of the visas issued under the programme.

The Indian government said it had been in touch with US and Australia on the changes in their respective work visa programmes and its impact on Indian professionals.

"The government is in touch with the United States and Australian governments on these matters and is also making full assessment of the impact of these recent changes by consulting all stakeholders," said External Affairs Ministry spokesman Gopal Baglay.

Meanwhile, the National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom) said these changes were operational concerns for Indian IT companies and they were taking steps to deal with it.

"The immigration related issues are some of the operational challenges which they face today and it is just one more dimension of the economic and technological challenges.

"We believe that the industry is capable of once again transforming to the extent needed based on these shifts," Nasscom President R. Chandrashekhar said.