11 May 2012

Hillary Clinton reassures India over US visa row

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has reassured the Indian government over its concern regarding US visa rejection rates from Indian applicants.

US visa

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says America is still committed to granting a US visa to qualified Indian professionals.

India has recently registered its concern over an apparently disproportionate rise in US visa rejection rates for Indian applicants compared to other nations with the World Trade Organisation.

India feels a 2010 hike in visa processing costs, which almost doubled costs to $4,500 (£2,800) per applicant, was unfair while rejection rates for Indian applicants have risen to over 20% compared to rates of less than 5% for other countries.

India signalled its intent to escalate the matter to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) last month but the Indian minister of state for commerce and industry, Jyotiraditya M Scindia, only informed the Indian parliament yesterday that New Delhi proposes to seek consultations with the US under the Dispute Settlement Understanding of the WTO'.

However, Mrs Clinton has claimed America remains committed to allowing qualified Indian professionals into the country.

"Indians are the greatest beneficiaries in the world of both our L-1 visa programme and our H-1B visa programme," said Mrs Clinton.

The Secretary of State discussed the topic during a recent trip to India, after the meeting a spokesperson for the State Department said:

"We understand that the demand is even greater. We are working through those issues but we continue to fully support the admission of qualified Indians under these programmes."

The American Visa Bureau is an independent migration consultancy specialising in helping people from Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries make their ESTA application.

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