New Delhi, June 21 : The Trump administration's review of H-1B and other worker visa programmes is not targeted at a single country and is "completely separate" from its ongoing discussions with India about its data localisation policy, the US State Department has clarified ahead of Secretary of State Michael R Pompeo's visit here next week.
Reports emanating from the US quoted a State Department spokesperson as saying that the Trump administration "has no plans to place caps on H-1B work visas for nations that force foreign companies to store data locally."
The spokesperson said on Thursday that the administration's "Buy American Hire American" executive order calling for a broad review of US worker visa programmes was 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."
Earlier, a Western news agency reported that the US was considering capping at 10-15 per cent of all H-1B visas for countries that have a data localisation policy.
The US issues 85,000 H-1B work visas every year, and Indians get an estimated 70 per cent of them.
On Thursday, the Ministry of External Affairs said the government was in talks with the US on H-1B visas, but has "not heard anything officially from the US government."
Pompeo will be here on June 25-26 for talks for a meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Donald Trump in Osaka, Japan, on the sidelines of the G20 summit.
Giving a sneak preview of his talks, Pompeo last week said he will discuss data localisation regulations, participation in 5G telecommunication and India’s plans to buy the S-400 Triumf missile defence system from Russia, beside the Indo-Pacific strategy.
Also on Thursday, Pompeo spoke with External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and underscored the strong US commitment to working closely to advance the strategic partnership between the two countries.
"Secretary Pompeo and Minister Jaishankar also discussed shared US and Indian objectives in safeguarding a free and open Indo-Pacific, US-India security cooperation, and the US-India economic partnership," State Department Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said in a statement. (UNI)