That Indian nationals account for a large chunk of H-1B visas is a “testimony” of their skill set, Nasscom said on Thursday. (Photographer: Anindito Mukherjee/Bloomberg)

No Communication Yet From The U.S. On H-1B Visa Cap, Says Commerce Ministry

The Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry has not received any communication from the U.S. on its reported decision to consider cap on H-1B visas for nations that mandate storing of data locally, government sources said Thursday.

The Reserve Bank of India, in its data localisation norms released last year, mandated payments firms to store customer data exclusively in India without creating mirror sites overseas. Some U.S. firms—including Visa Inc. and Mastercard Inc.—are opposed to this as it would require them to make additional investments in the country.

Irked by such requirements, the U.S. is considering restrictions on H-1B visa that allow foreign professionals to work in that country, a report said.

"We have not received any kind of communication from the US on the issue," the commerce ministry sources said.

U.S. IT and e-commerce firms have also raised concerns about certain provisions of the draft e-commerce policy. The draft policy has called for creating a legal and technological framework for imposing restrictions on cross-border data flow.

India has time and again raised the issue of tightening of H-1B visa norms.

On Thursday, IT industry body Nasscom said an H-1B visa cap will weaken U.S. companies that depend on these work permits to fill skill gaps and put jobs at risk.

That Indian nationals account for a large chunk of H-1B visas is a "testimony" of their skill set, Nasscom said, pointing out that a "vast majority" of these visas were being sponsored by global and U.S. multinational companies.

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