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US clearly denying visas to Indians: Chamber of Commerce

Last updated on: February 22, 2012 13:52 IST

US clearly denying visas to Indians: Chamber of Commerce

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Aziz Haniffa in Washington, DC


Part I: Dramatic rise in visa denial to Indians by US: Link 


It is quite clear that the United States is denying visas to Indian professionals, says an official at the US Chamber of Commerce, reports rediff.com

"The pattern here is quite clear for some reason, which we can't figure out," says Randel K Johnson, Senior Vice-President for Labor, Immigration and Employee Benefits at the US Chamber of Commerce, of the significant increase in denials of L-1 and H-1B visas.

Johnson, who has been involved in all of the key immigration policy issues and debates in recent years and is an erstwhile attorney in the US Department of Labor, however, said: "I can tell you that the companies that are submitting these applications are not fly-by-night companies - they know how to prepare a file, they know how the prepare an application for a visa, and they hire top-flight lawyers and they employ smart people to do these applications rights."

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Image: Pattern here is quite clear for some reason, says the official.
Photographs: Courtesy, Wikipedia Commons

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Thus, he said the USCIS' s recent spate of denials and requests of evidence claiming that there is inconsistency in these applications was nothing but a cop-out.

"I can assure you that that's not the case. So we have a pattern here that Stuart (Anderson in the NFAP report) has laid out and we can't figure out what's going on."

Johnson said: "This is a problem and this is hurting our ability to expand and compete in America and overseas," and argued that "this is not a typical case of whining about bureaucratic process. This has reached almost a fever-pitch among our membership".

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Image: This is a problem and this is hurting our ability to expand and compete, says Johnson.
Photographs: Courtesy, Wikipedia Commons

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"This is really about companies who are producing a product in the United States, but they are also working with their international talent overseas, who are jointly working on a product and in some cases, they want to say, 'Let me bring over my team from X country to work with the team here in America so that we can get the product done - whatever it might be."

He said: "It might be a complicated piece of machinery, it might be a piece of software. And, whereas in the past, those companies could bring those people in, now they are being held up or denied, and the result of that is the production is held up."

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Image: This is really about companies who are producing a product in the United States, he says.
Photographs: Courtesy, Wikipedia Commons

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Johnson said: "The companies would try to work through the system in dealing with these denials or requests for evidence by hiring more lawyers or they are going to at some point say, we got to get this done, we'll move overseas."

He said these denials and requests for evidence, "results in additional costs in terms of new lawyers being hired and in delays in production," and warned, "if we don't figure out a solution to this, it's going to hurt frankly, the ability of our companies to keep jobs in America and to compete, and that's the last thing we need in this environment."

Johnson said: "These are real stories and they are having a significant impact on these companies."

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Image: These are real stories and they are having a significant impact on these companies, says Johnson.
Photographs: Courtesy, Wikipedia Commons

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When pressed by rediff.com, if the denials and request for evidence by the USCIS and consulates could be a defensive reaction to legislation introduced by the likes of US Senators Richard Durbin, Illinois Democrat and Charles Grassley, Iowa Republican and others in the US Congress, who have accused some Indian companies, including heavyweights like Infosys and Wipro of fraudulent practices in the L-1 and H-1B visa process, Johnson said: "The agency is supposed to be governed by the law and hopefully they are not reacting to the possibility of some piece of legislation that might pass on the Hill at some point because if they were, no one will know what standards anybody is using."

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Image: The agency is supposed to be governed by the law, he says.
Photographs: Courtesy, Wikipedia Commons

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"So, I hope that's not the case," he said, and reiterated, "it would certainly be improper if that's in fact what the agency is looking at because that's not what the law is about - it's about specialised knowledge and whether or not someone has specialised knowledge."

Johnson said the spate of denials and request for evidence from Indian nationals "certainly begs explanation, but I am not going to speculation," if it were deliberate discrimination.

He however acknowledged that "I would say that given so many larger companies do have operations in India, it's fair to say that this is one reason this issue has bubbled up so much and that they are seeing the denials and request for evidence in many, many application from India."

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Image: Johnson says spate of denials and request for evidence from Indians begs explanation.
Photographs: Courtesy, Wikipedia Commons

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