US lawmaker praises Biden administration for making move to reduce visa backlog in India
Indian prime minister Narendra Modi with US president Joe Biden. (ANI Photo/PIB)
A top American Congresswoman has lauded the slew of measures undertaken by the Joe Biden administration to reduce the massive backlog in visa processing applications in India, saying such a long wait time was “unacceptable.”
Last week, the US sent a cadre of consular officers to India and opened up overseas embassies in Germany and Thailand to expedite Indian visa applicants.
India was one of the very few countries where applications for US visas saw a major upswing after coronavirus-related travel restrictions were lifted.
Grace Meng, 47, who is a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations and a member of the Congressional Caucus on India, said, “I’m glad to see that steps are being taken to reduce wait times for visa applicants.”
Meng is the first and only Asian member of Congress from New York State.
“This move will significantly help businesses and families who are waiting for the arrival of workers and loved ones from India. It is unacceptable that the wait time for visas has been so long, and in Congress, I have pushed for these delays to be addressed,” she 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. The waiting period of first time B1/B2 visa applicants in India were close to three years in October last year.
“The US and India continue to share a special bond, and this initiative to reduce backlogs will further strengthen the strong relationship that exists between our two great countries,” Meng added.
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. Indians make up a large proportion of the recipients of H-1B and other work visas granted to skilled foreign workers, many in the tech industry.