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Embattled IT sector set to press reset button in 2018

Monday, January 01, 2018
By Stuti Roy

What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger. That's probably the prescription pill for the USD 150 bn IT industry that faced multiple headwinds in the form of increased visa scrutiny and slowdown in client spending this year.

But 2018 promises to be better as clients loosen their purse strings for emerging technologies like automation and artificial intelligence to increase efficiency and productivity and to stay ahead of competition. "2017 was unlike any other year. There were political and economic factors at play that added to the complexity. There was increased visa scrutiny, customers held back IT spending," said R Chandrashekhar, president of software association Nasscom.

US President Donald Trump delivered on his election promise and took various steps to tighten visa norms. The controversial immigration order against people from seven Muslim-majority countries drew flak from US-based tech giants like Google and Facebook who said such moves create barriers to bringing good talent to the US.

The US also put on hold the premium processing of H-1B visa category. The US, which accounts for around 60% of India's IT export earnings, also took other steps to promote what it called 'Buy American and Hire American'.

"The new regulatory challenges coming from new visa regime with Trump administration and also changes to visa rules in countries like UK, Australia, Singapore will bring down people mobility and as a result flexibility in scaling businesses," Cyient Founder and Executive Chairman B V R Mohan Reddy said.

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