Trump administration considering restricting visas amid trade tensions with India: report

Trump administration considering restricting visas amid trade tensions with India: report
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The United States told India that it is considering restricting H-1B work visas for nations that force foreign companies to store data locally, Reuters reported Thursday.

The plan to restrict the temporary visas, which India is the largest recipient of, comes just days before Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoRepublicans consider skipping witnesses in Trump impeachment trial GOP senator blocks bill aimed at preventing Russia election meddling Russian diplomat says election meddling wasn't discussed at White House, contradicting Trump MORE's scheduled visit to New Delhi.

India has upset the U.S. government and companies like Mastercard with its stringent new data storage rules, according to Reuters.

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The warning comes amid escalating trade blows between the U.S. and India. Last week, Washington withdrew a key trade privilege for New Delhi, which India responded to by raising some tariffs on U.S. goods.

Two senior Indian government officials told Reuters that they were briefed last week on a U.S. plan to cap H-1B visas issued each year to Indians at between 10 percent and 15 percent of the annual quota.

Indians currently receive an estimated 70 percent of the visas.

A Washington-based industry source aware of India-U.S. negotiations told Reuters that the US was deliberating capping the number of H-1B visas in response to global data storage rules, but that the discussion would not specifically target India.

“The proposal is that any country that does data localization, then it [H-1B visas] would be limited to about 15 percent of the quota. It’s being discussed internally in the U.S. government,” the person said.

A State Department official told The Hill the administration has no plans to restrict the visas over local data storage rules.