The considerable fee hike in H1-B and L-1 visas notwithstanding, applications for these show no let up from India and it continues to be the largest beneficiary as it receives the largest number of H1-B visas, said a top US official who deals with international visa issues on 23 August.
US Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs, Michele Bond, was quoted by the IANS as saying that Indian citizens receive close to 70 percent of the H-1B visas that US issues globally. Indians continue to be the most successful applicants for these visas, she added. Of the total number of L-1 visas issued, Indians alone account for about 30 percent of its recipients from across the world.
At the end of 2015, the US had doubled the H1-B visa fees to $4,000 and L-1 visa fees to $4,500. Most of Indian IT majors’ employees who work on site are holders of H1-B visas.
During the period of October 2014 to September 2015, Indian citizens were issued over 110,000 H-1B visas. Bond said that this was a priority for them as part of a bilateral India and US initiative to further the bilateral economic and commercial relations.
When asked if America would review the issue of visa fees increase, she said that after the fees were hiked, they have neither seen a fall in the application numbers nor drop in interest in these visas. This was a legislative amendment and they were only implementing it.
Bond visited India to be an attendee of the annual bilateral consular dialogue, which was held on 22 August. This forum saw issues, such as facilitating business, tourism and other travel between India and the US, in addition to the protection of the US nationals in India, visa assessing, transparent international adoption and cases of preventing international parental child abduction, being discussed.
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