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US Set to Issue Over 1M Visas to Indians this year: Official

The US is on track to issue more than a million visas to Indians this year, a senior official has said, assuring that the Biden administration is committed this summer to make sure it processes all of the student visas for Indians whose school starts this fall. US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Donald Lu also told in an interview that they are also prioritising work visas: H-1B’s and L visas, the most sought-after by IT professionals from India. The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. Technology companies depend on it to hire tens of thousands of employees each year from countries like India and China.

“We are on track to issue more than a million visas this year. This is a record for us along with a record number of student visas and immigrant visas,” Lu said. There have been growing concerns in India over the long waiting period for first-time visa applicants, especially for those applying under B1 (business) and B2 (tourist) categories. India is now number two in the world in terms of international students coming to the United States. “We’ve also been prioritising work visas: H-1B’s and L visas. Wait times at some of our consular sections in India, for these visas are now below 60 days. We will continue to make sure that we prioritise visas for workers, as this is vital for both the American and the Indian economy,” Lu said. “For certain petition-based nonimmigrant work of visa categories, we plan to restart domestic visa renewal for applicants who meet certain requirements, including being physically present in the United States. We plan to have a pilot up and running later this year. This would eliminate the need for these applicants to travel abroad to renew their visas,” he said. (Source The ET)

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