The United States State Department issued a statement on June 20 saying that the Trump administration has no plans to cap H-1B work visas for nations that force foreign companies to store data locally.
The statement came after reports started doing the rounds that the United States had warned India it was considering restricting H-1B visas for countries that force ‘data localisation’.
"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 State Department spokeswoman said in a statement.
The Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) also held a press conference on Thursday emphasising that it had received no official communication from the United States about a visa cap.
“We have not heard anything officially from the US government. We continue to reiterate and engage with the US government on this matter,” said MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar.
Reports of the cap on H-1B visas came just days ahead of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's visit to New Delhi from June 25-27. The two countries have been at loggerheads over tariffs and trade with India imposing higher tariffs on some US goods, days after Washington withdrew a key trade privilege for New Delhi.
The H-1B visa programme brings skilled foreign workers to the United States every year and India is the largest recipient of these temporary visas. There is no current country-specific limit on the 85,000 H-1B work visas granted each year and an estimated 70% go to Indians.
The US State Department’s statement will come as a huge relief to India's multi-billion dollar IT sector, which uses H-1B visas to fly engineers and developers to service clients in the United States, their biggest market.