Posted on November 17, 2008

Cut in H1B Visas Unlikely: US Consul General

V Gangadharan, Express Buzz (Chennai, India), November 13, 2008

Will there be any ‘protectionist’ measure like a cut in the quota of H1B visas in the near future because of the economic meltdown and ‘electoral change’ in America? ‘Not likely,’ was the reply of US Consul General in Chennai [formerly Madras], Andrew T Simkin.

Speaking to this website’s newspaper, after participating in a meet on the Indo-US relations in the post US Election Scenario, organized by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) here on Wednesday, the US diplomat said there had always been a clamour for more number of H1B visas from many quarters.

When asked if the recent developments in the US could warrant any ‘radical shift’ in visa norms, especially for more popular visa-type like the H1B, the Consul General said such a thing was remote and unlikely. ‘It is a serious thing requiring legal amendments and I do not think this could be a priority,’ he said.

“The one thing that we accord top priority at the consulate here is that only the right person goes to the US on our visas,” he said adding that there had been a marked improvement in cutting down the waiting period to get appointment for visa interviews for persons seeking to go to the US.

Addressing the meet on Indo-US relationship, Chairman, FICCI, Tamil Nadu council, M Rafeeque Ahmed said reversing the economic meltdown should naturally be the top priority for the US president- elect Barack Obama as it would have a direct impact on resurrecting the global economy besides helping India.

Advisor to president of FICCI, and former IAS official, P Murari said the country would have to wait and see for the reaction of Obama to several world issues like Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel and Palestinian.

Far from loss of jobs in the US because of outsourcing, the country had actually gained tremendously due to Indian investments there. ‘This was brought out well by the study conducted recently by the Indo-US Joint Business Council recently.

The Indian investments there helped creation of jobs manifold. Not only American Indians, but all others including the Whites benefitted,” Murari said.