Mahindra Boosts U.S. Investment as It Braces for Visa Cuts

Mahindra, the Indian cars-to-technology conglomerate, plans to boost U.S. investment as it prepares for the prospect that President Donald Trump will cut quotas for the H-1B visas needed to service clients at its outsourcing business.

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

The future of the H1-B program, which allows U.S. companies to employ foreign workers in specialist roles, has hung over Indian outsourcers since Trump was elected promising to restore jobs for U.S. 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 U.S. are on H-1Bs, 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 U.S. economy,” said Goenka. “We are creating U.S. jobs, not taking U.S. jobs,” said Goenka, who himself received an H-1B visa and eventually got citizenship.

The U.S. 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, who said the liberal education in the U.S. is good for technology talent because it teaches people to think broadly and deal with uncertainties.

— With assistance by Saritha Rai, and Gabrielle Coppola

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