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US may increase H1B visas for Indians

Plans are to hike it by 25%, Peter G Kaestner, Minister for Consular Affairs, says.

india Updated: Sep 02, 2006 19:18 IST

The US on Friday said it has a proposal to raise the H1B visa quota for Indians by 25 per cent and is taking steps to reduce the waiting period for visa applications, particularly students, of this country.

It also denied that religion was any criteria for issuance or denial of visa to anybody.

Efforts are underway to raise the quota for H1B (short duration stay) visas for Indians and there is a proposal to hike it by 25 per cent, Peter G Kaestner, newly appointed Minister for Consular Affairs at the US Embassy said.

At present, the limit of such visas meant for those employed temporarily is 80,000. Last year, the cap was one lakh.

The issue is political in nature and US Congress has to decide on it finally, the official said.

Kaestner, who has served at the US Embassy earlier also, said he felt the number would remain inadequate even after the hike.

The US H1B visa is non-immigrant visa, which allows a US company to employ a foreign individual for up to six years. The H1B visa-seekers could be those employed temporarily in a speciality occupation or as a fashion model of distinguished merit and ability.

Kaestner said the number of Indian students in the US was growing, recording an increase of 30 per cent last year.

The US Embassy is making efforts to reduce the waiting period for visa seekers, particularly students and cut down on the backlog.