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US Tells India It’s Mulling Caps On H-1B Visas For Nations That Force Foreign Companies To Store Data Locally

PolygamousRanchKid shares a report from Reuters: The United States has told India it is considering caps on H-1B work visas for nations that force foreign companies to store data locally, three sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters, widening the two countries’ row over tariffs and trade. 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.
A Washington-based industry source aware of India-U.S. negotiations also said the United States was deliberating capping the number of H-1B visas in response to global data storage rules. The move, however, was not solely targeted at India, the source said. Most affected by any such caps would be India’s more than $150 billion IT sector, including Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and Infosys Ltd, which uses H-1B visas to fly engineers and developers to service clients in the United States, its biggest market. Major Silicon Valley tech companies also hire workers using the visas. Since last year, the Trump administration has been upset that U.S. companies such as Mastercard and Visa suffer due to regulations in several countries that it says are protectionist and increasingly require companies to store more data locally. India last year mandated foreign firms to store their payments data ‘only in India’ for supervision, and New Delhi is working on a broad data protection law that would impose strict rules for local processing of data it considers sensitive. Senior Indian government officials were briefed last week on a U.S. plan to cap H-1B visas issued each year to Indians at between 10% and 15% of the annual quota. Currently, there is no country-specific limit on the 85,000 H-1B work visas granted each year, and an estimated 70% go to Indians.


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