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Sunday, 27 August 2006 15:02

India likely to get 25% more H1B visas

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ImageThere’s some news to cheer up Indian IT firms. Newly appointed minister of consular affairs at the US Embassy in New Delhi, Peter Kaestner, announced that the US is considering a proposal to raise the H1B work permit quota for India by 25 percent from the current 80,000 to 100,000.

The H1B visa is a non-immigrant visa which allows a US company to employ a foreign individual for up to six years.

This has come as a shot in the arm for Indian IT companies operating in the US as well as MNCs that have set up large operations here and are always falling short in sending engineers for onsite work.

Kaestner, who has had an earlier assignment at the embassy in Delhi, also felt that the H1B numbers would remain inadequate even after the proposed hike.

Besides the highly skilled IT professionals, who use the H1B visas, Indian students, who form the largest numbers of foreigners on US campuses, too have reason to cheer. Kaestner indicated that the US is taking steps to reduce the waiting period for visa applications, particularly students, from India.

There are over 90,000 Indian students in the US and the number is growing by 30 per cent.

“The consular section of the US embassy in India has always been very accommodating towards students and there are no cases of anyone missing a term because of not getting an interview date. To handle the extra rush during college admission seasons, there are extra appointment slots for student visa applicants,” Vijaya Khandavilli, country co-ordinator, educational services, United States Education Foundation in India (USEFI), said.

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