US Envoy Shares President Biden’s Order To Reduce Wait Time For Visas

Feature and Cover US Envoy Shares President Biden’s Order To Reduce Wait Time For Visas

Shedding light on visa problems faced by Indians, the US envoy to India, Eric Garcetti, said that President Joe Biden told him to bring down the visa times in India. It was the first instance that an ambassador was told to look into something like this in any country, Garcetti said in an interview with ANI.

Garcetti underscored that a part of the green card backlog issue is a legislative problem and said that it is what Congress will have to address. However, he highlighted that the number of visas that have been adjudicated has brought down the waiting time by 75 percent.

“Now, part of this is a legislative problem that Congress will have to address on the whether it’s the number of legal immigrants, the number of green cards, or the number of people who can become citizens. There’s just limits on that. Like any country, I’m sure there’s limits here, too. And that is frustrating for Indians, I think, because there’s so many Indians who want to come to America. And that’s a great part of our news, by the way. Second only to Mexicans, were Indian visas last year, the biggest number of students, double the second biggest.”

“Last year, over 245,000 student visas came from India. Number one in adoptions, number one in all these categories that show 1.4 billion people, a lot of them would love to come to America. And so it’s a good problem to have. But a couple of things were changing…,” he said, on being asked about the green card backlog issue, and why there are mostly Indians who are on the backlog.

“We’ve here in not just Delhi, but across India, increased 60 per cent in a single year with the same number of people, the number of visas that we adjudicated, and brought down wait times by 75 per cent. So again, that would be more of a question for Congress to resolve.
Garcetti was asked that despite a 75 percent reduction in the time limit for visas, there is a waiting period of 250 days. Responding to which, Garcetti said, “Where the 250 is still a long way. It is, and too high for me. The president said, Eric, I want you to bring down visa wait times in India. I think it’s probably the first time a President ever said that to an ambassador in any country.”

“I don’t think presidents even focus on visa wait times, but we all have so many Indian friends who are saying, Why is this taking so long? That it even went up to the president. So the reality of that 250 is an average. And I think the typical person is actually under 200 days already. It’s difficult with the existing resources,” he noted.

Saying that India is doing quite well in its system, the US envoy went on to say, “…We actually are very responsive. It’s a huge priority for me, for the president. But the rest of the countries are like, wait a second, that isn’t even proportionate to the large population of Indians when they have a quarter of the student visas, when they have the largest group of H1Bs by far. So India is doing quite well in our system. And our system, I think, is looking at how it can continue to improve and maybe even expand the numbers. But that will require Democrats, Republicans, and independents to come together. To come together.”

For the third year in a row, a record number of Indian students traveled to the United States to pursue higher education, the US Embassy in India revealed in a release in November last year.

According to the Open Doors Report (ODR), the number of international students from India to the United States increased by 35 per cent and resulted in an all-time high of 268,923 students in the academic year 2022-23.

Indian students constitute more than 25 per cent of the over one million foreign students studying in the United States. The release of the Open Doors Report marks the beginning of International Education Week (IEW), which celebrates the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide, according to the embassy release.

Garcetti also revealed that the opening of two new consulates is under consideration. “We’ve talked about opening two new consulates in the near future, one in Bangalore, another one that will be in Ahmedabad. Two, we’re working with the Ministry of External Affairs to put more bodies in India, and they’ve been very responsive and helpful. For instance, we opened up in Hyderabad, the newest, most expensive, and most beautiful consulate anywhere in the world for the US. But the counters were only one third filled because we didn’t have enough people approved by the Indian government to come work here. And then we have to, of course, hire them.

“And last year, as part of the state visit, there was an agreement on that. MEA did a wonderful job, allowed us to hire more. And so you’ll see a couple dozen more people come on board this year,” he added.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More Related Stories