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Window of opportunity for immigrant visa seekers

No floodgates have been opened for Indians seeking immigrant visas in the United States, but there’s a window of opportunity for existing visa-holders in the US to apply for an E3, reports Amit Baruah.

delhi Updated: Jun 23, 2007 03:38 IST
Amit Baruah

No floodgates have been opened for Indians seeking immigrant visas in the United States, but there’s a window of opportunity for existing visa-holders in the US to apply for an E3, or employment third preference, visa.

And, as the US Embassy stressed in the Capital, the window of opportunity is not special to Indians, it’s for all eligible foreigners living in the United States. “Indians and aliens of other nationalities may begin paperwork for these skilled workers visas, but they should not expect a significant change in the historical waiting time or the availability of visas in this category,” said a US Embassy official.

All that the July visa bulletin of the US State Department shows is a “C” — or numbers available tag — against the E3 category. A look at the previous month’s visa bulletin revealed that it was closed for applications in June.

“The current status of the E3 category does not reflect a long-term change in the availability of skilled worker visas or green cards. It was temporary to ensure that the statutory numbers in this category were used in this fiscal year,” added the official.

According to the visa bulletin, the worldwide level for annual employment-based preference immigrants is at least 140,000.

Given that there are at least five categories in employment visas (E1, E2, E3, E4 and E5), it is difficult to tell what will be the actual number of available immigrant visas in the E3 category.

In the E3 category, skilled workers, professionals holding baccalaureate degrees and other workers receive 28.6 per cent of the yearly worldwide limit, plus any unused employment first (E1) and second preference (E2) visas, the bulletin added.