US proposes raising H1-B visas for Indians

Via The Times Of India
08/28/2006

NEW DELHI: The US on Friday said it
has a proposal to raise the H1-B visa quota for Indians by 25 per cent and is
taking steps to reduce the waiting period for visa applications, particularly
students, of this country.

It also denied that religion was any
criteria for issuance or denial of visa to anybody.

Efforts are
underway to raise the quota for H1-B (short duration stay) visas for Indians and
there is a proposal to hike it by 25 per cent, Peter G Kaestner, newly-appointed
Minister for Consular Affairs at the US Embassy said.

At present, the
limit of such visas meant for those employed temporarily is 80,000. Last year,
the cap was one lakh.

The issue is political in nature and US
Congress has to decide on it finally, the official said.

Kaestner,
who has served at the US Embassy earlier also, said he felt the number would
remain inadequate even after the hike.

The US H1B visa is
non-immigrant visa, which allows a US company to employ a foreign individual for
up to six years. The H1B visa-seekers could be those employed temporarily in a
speciality occupation or as a fashion model of distinguished merit and
ability.

Kaestner said the number of Indian students in the US was
growing, recording an increase of 30 per cent last year.

The US
Embassy is making efforts to reduce the waiting period for visa seekers,
particularly students and cut down on the backlog.

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