U.S. Workers Have Needed Skills, Exec at Indian IT Firm Says

Don Tennant

It looks like hell just froze over. The head of an Indian IT company's operations in the Americas says he has dozens of job openings in the United States, and he can find all the skills and talent he needs right here in the U.S. work force. Equally eyebrow-raising is the fact that the individual is a founder of the Indian company - and that he's a U.S. worker himself.


Scott Staples is a co-founder and president, Americas, of Bangalore-based MindTree Ltd., an IT services provider that's considerably smaller than the likes of Infosys, Wipro and Tata, but does a lot of the same types of work for clients worldwide. Staples, who works out of the company's U.S. headquarters in Warren, N.J., told me in an interview last week that he has about 55 job openings in the United States at the moment, and he plans to fill them all with local hires:

We don't need to bring any workers from India. We prefer for them to be local hires, because it makes it a lot easier for us from a training and communications standpoint, and things like that. The problem we're having right now is the job market for tech workers has gotten very good lately. I'd say over the last five months or so it's really picked up, it's become much more competitive. In the past we used to fill roles rather quickly; now we're going to creative strategies in order to fill them. We just signed up a couple more recruiting agencies that we use around the country; we've just brought in a full-time recruiter to our New Jersey office; we're bringing on another recruiter in June. So we can definitely get all these folks hired from the local market. I just need to work a little harder at it and get creative as to how we're going to get them.

According to Staples, MindTree has about 650 employees in the United States. Less than 15 percent of those are Indians here on H-1B visas, he said, and that percentage is trending downward as the company continues to hire locally:

We're a company with 10,000 people. With 650 people in the U.S. and the vast majority of those 10,000 people in India, our model is pretty much to have the folks who are on site with our clients be in customer-facing roles. If you take that general sense of what the current 650 people are doing, we're looking for the same types of people with those 55 requests that we've got out right now - project managers, program managers, business analysts - front-end consulting people who can interface with the client and help manage the actual work that's being done offshore.

Staples said MindTree had always been a low filer of H-1B visa petitions, preferring instead to bring Indian workers to the U.S. on B-1 visas for short-term training:

It's important for us to be able to bring people on-site from India in short terms. So they'll come over for some knowledge transfer and training and that kind of stuff, and then they'll be able to go back and retrain and teach these larger teams in India. We also see B-1s as a great way to keep attrition down in India. When you can tell somebody you're going to be on a project for a year or two, but we're going to bring you to the U.S. for a couple of weeks to give you exposure to the U.S. and learn more, that's very attractive to people. So H-1Bs are not a core part of our business. Obviously we want some people on H-1Bs, but the vast majority of our hires are U.S.-based.

This, of course, is how the H-1B and B-1 visa programs were always intended to be used. The shame is that since there has been so much abuse of those programs over the years, the U.S. government has necessarily had to crack down and make it a lot more difficult for foreign workers to obtain visas under those programs. That, in turn, has hurt companies like MindTree by making it harder for them to carry out the legitimate and necessary training and knowledge transfer that Staples spoke about.


We don't need to shed any tears for companies like MindTree - we can save those for the individuals and families here and abroad that have been the hardest-hit victims of visa abuse. But it's important to be aware of this additional dimension of the damage being created by the abusers.

Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
May 16, 2011 1:54 AM Dolores Dolores  says:

Um, no, the H-1B was only supposed to be TEMPORARILY used to address spot shortages in the American skilled labor market, but only until an American could be found or developed. Using any visa for OJT for foreign workers is wrong and I know Americans who have refused to cooperate with "knowledge transfer."

One guy I know was clever enough to get his paycheck for phase one of his work, and since phase 2 was training Indians, he cashed his check and then vanished. 

I attended a cattle call at Charles Schwab recently, and they apologized more than once for using India, and tried to minimize it. They said they wanted applicants to know about it beforehand and be comfortable with it. One even told the story of a prize candidate they pursued, who turned them down at the last minute because she just couldn't deal with the India angle.

So, for MindTree, American candidates are getting harder to hire? Maybe it's because they don't want to aid and abet the globalist collaboration process? Maybe they'd rather work in one of the few remaining American companies? Just saying ...

May 16, 2011 5:52 AM anonymous anonymous  says:

A number of companies now willing to hire from local market just because visa has become more expensive and Govt. is paying more attention. Now suddenly they are finding QUALIFIED workers in USA. The companies could not find qualified workers when dot com companies were busting and jobs were being eliminated in hundreds of thousands every months.

May 17, 2011 2:10 AM humble humble  says:

10000 jobs in India and 650 jobs in the US. Are you kidding me? Those H1-B "abusers" may have more employees in US than MindTree. Is this the model company that you want to support? These trivial number of jobs in the US do not mean much to the economy. US should focus more on how to get those 10000 jobs to the US. This is the problem with globalization. Companies do not have any borders but employment does. IMHO there are only two possible(definitely not feasible) solutions to fix this permanently: 1) de-globalize the economy or 2) remove the borders across countries.

May 17, 2011 2:15 AM Agree Agree  says:

If you bring those people to US, they will atleast pay taxes. If you keep them in India then you do not get anything.

May 17, 2011 5:45 AM Lawson Lawson  says: in response to Dolores

USA stands for United States of Aliens so why are expecting any of our companies to hire locals ?

May 17, 2011 11:43 AM Anonymous Anonymous  says: in response to anonymous

I agree to your view point... they changed their tune based on the visa process and the money involved in the visa processing....

May 18, 2011 11:44 AM jobs4us jobs4us  says:

Are these companies REALLY hiring American citizens or are they trading H1B corp-corp transfers?  The black market trading of unemployed H-1b (euphemistically known as benched)  people who are not working on customer engagements and probably living in deplorable guest homes in New Jersey (literally) is shocking. These temporary guest workers are violating US laws and risk deportation - Every day there are literally THOUSANDS of hidden USA jobs being hocked behind the scenes by corp-corp H1 companies (most based in NJ)

BrightFuturejobs.com is posting many of these corp-corp jobs under hidden USA jobs.   Also, Google corp-corp and see for yourself.

I want to emphasize that these jobs are real, USA jobs - but they go unadvertised because the unscrupulous H1b corp-corp human trafficking firms are still flying below the radar and no one in the media is covering them (yet).  US Citizens - if you meet the qualifications - APPLY for these jobs... note, employment segregation ended in with the Civil Rights Act of 1965  - it is illegal to discriminate against American citizens for US jobs in the USA... The DOJ is watching this market carefully.

Don, here's your chance

May 19, 2011 5:26 AM hoapres hoapres  says: in response to jobs4us

>> It's important for us to be able to bring people on-site from India in short terms. So they'll come over for some knowledge transfer and training and that kind of stuff, and then they'll be able to go back and retrain and teach these larger teams in India.  <<

Couldn't have said it better myself.  The Indians are brought in so soon to be laid off Americans can do the knowledge transfer (KT) so that the jobs can be exported to India.

May 19, 2011 5:28 AM hoapres hoapres  says: in response to Dolores

>> Um, no, the H-1B was only supposed to be TEMPORARILY used to address spot shortages in the American skilled labor market, but only until an American could be found or developed.  <<

No it wasn't.  The original NSF plan in 1988 was to bring in H1Bs to keep labor costs down.

May 20, 2011 1:14 AM R. Lawson R. Lawson  says: in response to Lawson

Don and all, FYI I did not make that post.  I assume someone was trying to attribute a racist post to me.

If that is the case, that is a very low point on these message boards.

May 20, 2011 1:21 AM Don Tennant Don Tennant  says: in response to R. Lawson

It never entered my mind that that was you, Roy. Lawson is a fairly common name. You've consistently gone by R. Lawson, so hopefully that was clear to everyone else, too.

May 20, 2011 1:38 AM R. Lawson R. Lawson  says: in response to Don Tennant

Thanks Don,

Just wanted to be explicit so there was no question.  I wasn't sure if it was a real "Lawson" or a deceptive post so just to be safe.


May 22, 2011 7:14 AM James James  says:

Indians have a very poor work ethic.  They cannot communicate well, and this is not a language issue, it is one of not wishing to commit, to take risks, to be held responsible to meet deadlines and budgets.  In the Indian culture, they do not take risks, spend money or make commitments.  The Phd degrees are taken in the same way as USA high school graduates get diplomas.  They memorize, sit exams, play back what they have memorized.  They do not go through a tough creative, innovative exercise.  So despite their waving of these advanced degrees, they dont mean much.  Indians can generate code from specific, detailed, requirements.  They really will undermine the USA when all the relatives start arriving and begging for government handouts.  The USA was built by immigrants, but not pen pushing, lazy, risk adverse Indians.  It was built by blue collar europeans who didnt look for an easy ride with civil service jobs and generous infrastructures.


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