IT Reshoring News

July 10, 2019

The U.S. Should Cap India's H-1B Visas

India takes 70% of all H-1B visas for itself. Now due to a data privacy issue, the U.S. Government may cap the number of H-1Bs India (and any other country) can get each year. It's an excellent idea, with two very good reasons for such a cap.

In June, the U.S. Government announced the possibility of a cap on the number of H-1B visas it issues to India every year.

U.S. tells India it is mulling caps on H-1B visas to deter data rules –, June 19, 2019

The cap would prevent Indian outsourcing firms like Tata and Infosys from getting more than 15% of all H-1B visas issued annually. Right now India gets about 70% of all H-1Bs visas each year, more than any other country.

The next day, Secretary of State Pompeo reversed course & said no to the cap idea: Pompeo to assure India on H-1B visas for tech workers –, June 21, 2019

He should not do so. H-1B caps are an excellent idea—and an appropriate action for the current situation.

Data Localization – One More Advantage for India/Disadvantage for American Workers

Why discuss a cap now? Sources for the article say it's due to India's policy on data localization. Something that concerns American businesses it should.

Data localization is a practice wherein a country requires foreign companies to keep their data within its borders. Essentially, if you do business in India but are based in the U.S., India will demand you keep your India-related operational data within India. All of it.

Localization presents a very BIG security issue to American businesses. Even if you apply security protections to the data you store overseas, it's not under your direct control. Which means it's vulnerable to theft while there.

It's also vulnerable to government entities who may want to look through your intellectual property. Of course India says it will protect your data's privacy. The same thing China said before it plundered foreign companies' data anyway.

You can see why data localization isn't the best idea. Using this as justification to cap H-1Bs makes perfect sense!

We do want to point out another, simpler reason to cap Indian H-1Bs. Every year, India floods the H-1B visa program with applications. Taking advantage of every possible loophole.

This crowds other countries out of the H-1B process. Countries who may want to send skilled workers to our shores.  Diversification of our H1-B workforce is wise for the same reasons you diversify your investment portfolio.

No one country should dominate our H1-B program. If such visas must exist, they should go to a reasonable balance of countries who want to do business with us. Especially if they're willing to respect our data privacy…which, given its push for data localization, we can't say India does.


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