Washington has no plans to cap H-1B visas: US State Department

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The United States has said it is not considering capping the number of annual H-1B work visas for countries that force foreign companies to store local data locally.

“The U.S. has no plans to place caps on H-1B work visas for nations that force foreign companies to store data locally,” a statement by the US State Department said.

Thursday’s statement was in response to media reports which suggested that the US was considering capping H1B visas issued each year for different countries, with the proposed annual quota for Indian companies to be around 10 to 15 per cent.

The statement cleared that Trump administration’s “Buy American Hire America” Executive order is not targeted at any specific country, and is completely separate from Washington’s ongoing discussions with New Delhi regarding the importance of ensuring the free flow of data across borders.

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“The Trump Administration’s Buy American Hire American Executive Order called for a broad review of U.S. worker visa programs, including the H-1B program. This review is not targeted at a specific country and is completely separate from our ongoing discussions with India about the importance of ensuring the free flow of data across borders,” the statement read.

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently reduced the mandated number of H-1B visas for the fiscal year 2019. As per a release on the USCIS website, H1B visas have a cap of 65,000 for the general category and allow a further 20,000 people who have a US master’s degree from an accredited institution.

H-1B, considered as the most sought-after work visa among highly-skilled Indian professionals. It is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise.

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