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Reality bites Bush's wish, visa woes haunt Indians

Despite the US Prez' urge to get more "really bright folks" from India, students from the country often face difficulties.

india Updated: Feb 10, 2006 05:32 IST

Though educational institutions in the US have been open to Indian talent, students from this country face difficulties and hurdles in grant and extension of visas, Karnataka Governor TN Chaturvedi said on Thursday.

However, Indian professionals have been the principal beneficiaries of the H-1B visa programme down the years, often snapping up close to half of these coveted work visas.

But, have the procedures been that smooth? Says Chaturvedi, "Frequently, our highly endowed young men and women face difficulties and hurdles as regards grant and extension of visas."

This is in contrast to US President George Bush's plans for the future. The President recently called upon the US Congress to raise the H-1B visa cap so that “really bright folks” from abroad could take up American jobs and help the US retain its competitive edge.

Expanding on his latest theme of American competitiveness, Bush felt it was a wrong strategy to limit the number of H-1B visas for talented engineers and scientists from abroad.

The cap was lowered to 65,000 visas in the financial year 2004, down from 195,000.

Contrary to US's rigidity, India has a much more liberal process for admitting students coming from other countries, Chaturvedi said.

The Governorwasspeaking at the inauguration of a national workshop on "Changing contours of Indo-US Relations" at the National Institute of Advanced Studies in Bangalore.

The Governor also said that US demands have largely driven the growth and development of the Information Technology industry in Bangalore.

He stated that yoga, music, films, literature and many other aspects of our culture have always played a role in promoting India's relationship with the US.

He said while there was much to be hopeful about, there were still many differences between India and the US that could act as roadblocks.

"India's national interests and US's national interests may now have many converging strands. But there are still differences that at times could exacerbate our relationships. Past mindsets that find it difficult to cope with the new realities could also pose problems," Chaturvedi said.

First Published: Feb 09, 2006 20:04 IST