23 September 2011

India alarmed at rate of US visa rejections

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The Government of India has expressed concern over the increasing rate of rejections of Indian applications for an American visa.

US visa application

The Indian Government has expressed concern over the rising rate of US visa rejections for Indian citizens

Speaking at a gathering of businesspeople in Washington today, India's Minister for Commerce and Industry Anand Sharma said the trend in US visa applications from Indian citizens - particularly workers in the IT industry - has been worrying.

"Uptake of H1B visas this year has been half of annual prescribed limit and the rejection rates have gone up," he said.

H1B visas are required by foreign workers to obtain temporary onsite contracts.

Mr Sharma said the free movement of Indian professionals to the United States is important for the economic growth of both countries.

Earlier this week, an Indian government spokesperson made similar comment, referring to "negativism in granting visas and harassment at the port of entry in the US".

In August 2011 the United States Congress passed a bill to increase H1B and L1 US visa application fees by more than $2000 USD in order to make funds available for border protection initiatives along the American border with Mexico.

According to the Indian government spokesperson, the hike in associated fees "has caused considerable anxiety to the Indian IT industry and policymakers in general".

Co-author of the bill, New York Senator Charles Schumer, said that while the H1B program "does a lot of good for a lot of American companies", there is also an element of abuse under the current foreign work visa system.

The American Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with their ESTA application to the American Embassy.

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