US Warns India Of H-1B Visa Caps Over Data Storage Rules

The United States has warned India that it may impose caps on H-1B work visas for countries which require that foreign companies store data locally, according to Reuters, citing three sources with knowledge of the matter. 

The move comes less than a week after India announced retaliatory tariffs as high as 70% on 28 US products in response to Washington’s refusal to exempt Delhi from higher import taxes on steel and aluminum of up to 120%. 

Talk of the H-1B visa cap – which would restrict the number of skilled foreign workers who are brought into the US each year – comes just days ahead of a scheduled visit to New Delhi by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

India, which has upset companies such as Mastercard and irked the U.S. government with stringent new rules on data storage, is the largest recipient of these temporary visas, most of them to workers at big Indian technology firms. –Reuters

On Wednesday, two senior Indian government officials said that they were briefed last week on the visa-cap plan which would reduce issuance between 10% and 15% of the annual quota. There is currently no country-specific limit, however around 70% of the 85,000 or so H-1B work visas issued are granted to Indians. 

According to the report, the plan is linked to the global push for “data localization,” which US technology firms have lobbied against around the world…

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