In India, External Affairs Ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar also said that he had not heard anything officially from the US government on this matter.

No plans to cap H-1B work visas clarifies US State Department
news H-1B Friday, June 21, 2019 - 13:42

Soon after a Reuters report said that the US was planning to cap for H-1B visas, India said there was no official word from the US. Indians are a major beneficiary of the visa.

In response to the Reuters report, the US State Department also clarified that the US does not have plans to cap H-1B visas. “The Trump Administration has no plans to place caps on H-1B work visas for nations that force foreign companies to store data locally,” a spokesperson told Reuters.

In India, External Affairs Ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar said: "It is a source-based report... We have not heard anything officially from the US government on this matter. We remain engaged with the US Administration and we remain engaged with the US Congress on this matter."

According to Reuters’s source, the move was for countries that have norms regarding data localisation. Last year, India asked payment firms to adhere to strict data localisation norms. Firms such as Mastercard were reportedly irked by the move, and foreign companies have claimed that setting up storage infrastructure in the country would increase costs. On Tuesday, following a meeting, the commerce ministry told industry representatives that the Reserve Bank of India would look into the matter.

On the issue of data collection, Raveesh Kumar on Thursday said: "There are consultations within the government and between the government and the industry."

"We are engaged with the US and will remain engaged with the US on this matter and see how we can dispel any misconception on this matter," Kumar added.

Raveesh Kumar also added that the contribution of Indian-Americans has been recognised by the USA. "US has supported India for the permanent member of the (UN) Security Council. Last year, we held a two-plus-two dialogue (between Foreign and Defence Ministers/Secretaries). There is lot of cooperation going on in the high technology trade. So, there is plenty of action going on between India and US bilateral relationship."

This comes ahead of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visit to India next Tuesday. Pompeo's visit will be the first high-level meeting between the two countries after the Lok Sabha elections returned Prime Minister Narendra Modi with a stronger mandate.

(With IANS inputs)

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