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Data localisation: US Dept of State says it has ‘no plans’ to cap H-1B visas

Update on June 21, 2019: A US State Department spokesperson told MediaNama in an email on June 21 that the US 'has no plans place caps on H-1B visas for nations that force foreign companies to store data locally'. The spokesperson further specified tha the review of the US workers visa programme —  called for by the Trump administration's Buy American and Hire American Executive order in 2017 — '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'. MediaNama has asked the Department of State and the Department of Homeland Security for further clarification. Story on June 20, 2019: The United States told India that it is considering 15% caps on H-1B work visas for nations that mandate data localisation, Reuters reported. This comes a few days after higher import tariffs on 29 American products were put into effect by India, and a few days ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meeting with President Donald Trump on the side-lines of the G20 summit in Japan on June 28 and 29. Furthermore, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is scheduled to visit New Delhi ahead of the G20 summit. Data localisation and the restrictions on cross-border data flows have been a key concern for US companies operating in India, especially payments companies like Visa and Mastercard; Mastercard, in fact, also said recently that around $350 million of its $1 billion investment…

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