The meeting of the Governor General of Canada with IT behemoth Infosys is likely to raise hope for the sector and its North American aspirations amid visa uncertainty.
Infosys and other IT companies like Wipro and TCS are said to have considerable operations in Canada and are some of the bigger employers in the country despite the small size of Canada’s IT market.
Indian workers constitute one of the largest workforce in the country but with stringent temporary foreign workers programme, many companies were forced to revisit their offshore programmes.
On concerns amid tightening of visa, Stewart Beck, High Commissioner of Canada to India said, “so they will be moving people back and forth and we see Canada, because we have a North American Free Trade Agreement, as an excellent location for Indian as well as other companies to locate and to capitalise on the North American market.”
The Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada, David Johnston and his delegation met with top management at Infosys for a panel discussion on Innovation. The panel is said to have touched upon areas such as need for governments to simplifying rules of cross border trade and encourage startups to become global, the right kind of policies, along with enabling incentives, that are the need of the hour for startups to become best-in-class among other topics.
Canada’s location is near ideal for Indian IT companies due to the close proximity of the US, which is their biggest software export market. With the US all set to tighten their visa norms with the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill, close locations for client servicing and other operations will be an option Indian IT companies will consider carefully.
On the cap on visas, Beck said that there are policies that the companies were expected to meet. “There are some sensitivities in the country that has to be recognised,” he said and added that Indian companies will have to go through labour market opinions and other mandatory procedures to bring in foreign workers.
Stating that these checks have been in place for many years, Beck acknowledged that it had become ‘an irritant’ to the Indian side. “So those companies that are doing a lot of business with Canada know how to deal with that problem.”