US presidential politics will not affect the visa program, says Minister-Counselor Joseph M. Pomper.
By Jayshal Sood
An increase in H-1B visa fee has no adverse effect on the number of visa requests from India, said Joseph M Pomper, Minister-Counselor for Consular Affairs at the US Embassy in New Delhi, in an interview to The Economic Times.
Pomper, underscoring the H-1B applications from India, said that the country gets close to 70 % of all the H-1B visas issued by US embassies and consulates, worldwide. Also, 30% of L1 visas are issued to Indian companies, he said.
The US official told the paper that the hike was not targeted specifically at Indian applicants — it was a business decision to manage escalating costs of processing visas.
Pomper said that decisions on foreign workers are taken by the US Congress. He said that several adverse comments made by presidential candidates during campaigns may not have any impact on the visa program. Pomper was referring to Republican presidential candidate Donald J Trump’s statement that H-1B visas “decimate American workers”.
A major beneficiary of H-1B program is the $146 billion Indian IT outsourcing industry. H-1B enables skilled workers to temporarily work in the US.
Pomper admitted that the US embassy in New Delhi and consulates in Chennai, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Kolkata are struggling to manage the existing rush for US visas. While the Minister-Counselor said that so far the US government has not issued orders for any new consulates, The American Bazaar has learnt from reliable sources that US is considering opening more consulates in India.
He advised that people who are planning to travel to America should plan well in advance and file their applications early.