According to the report, this move reportedly comes for countries that have norms regarding data localisation.

US may limit India to 15 of H-1B visa quota Report
news Visa Thursday, June 20, 2019 - 15:17

The largest recipient of H-1B visas, India may soon be in trouble as the US has reportedly told India it is considering capping H-1B visas for countries that force foreign companies to store data locally.

“The proposal is that any country that does data localization, then it (H-1B visas) would be limited to about 15% of the quota. It’s being discussed internally in the U.S. government,” a source told Reuters. This would massively impact India, given it is the biggest beneficiary of H-1B visas. 76% of the total visas issued went to professionals from India last year. Over 80,000 H-1B visas are reportedly granted each year.

According to Reuters’s source, this move reportedly could come 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.

This move also comes amidst trade tensions between India and the USA. The US had raised tariffs on Indian aluminium and steel last year and ended India's $5.6 billion trade concessions under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) programme this month. “I have determined that India has not assured the United States that India will provide equitable and reasonable access to its markets," US President Donald Trump had said. After this, India raised tariffs on 28 US items.

The end to GSP came ahead of the meeting between Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Japan later this month during the G20 Summit. This possible move also comes just before US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s this month. The US "will work closely with Modi, as we have many times,” State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus had earlier said.

Immigration attorney Cyrus Mehta told Forbes that it is unlikely that this will happen, as the US administration doesn't have the power to do so."Congress would have to amend the law to award fewer H-1B visas to India. The current law does not authorize the U.S. government to discriminate against a certain country within the annual H-1B limit," he said.   

With IANS inputs

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