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'Gandhigiri' pays off in the United States

Thanks to "Gandhigiri" by unhappy Indian green card seekers the US immigration service has started accepting applications from thousands of foreign professional workers.
IANS | By Arun Kumar, Washington
UPDATED ON JUL 18, 2007 08:23 PM IST

A bit of "Gandhigiri" by unhappy Indian green card seekers paid off with the US immigration service reversing itself again to begin immediately accepting applications from thousands of foreign professional workers.

The latest flip-flop followed a unique protest by Indian applicants for permanent residency who sent thousands of flowers to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director Emilio Gonzalez last week over a last minute reversal of a June announcement offering expedited processing for H1-B visa holders.

"The public reaction to the July 2 announcement made it clear that the federal government's management of this process needs further review," Gonzalez stated on Tuesday acknowledging the Indian workers' protest inspired by the hit Hindi movie Lage Raho Munnabhai that extolled Gandhian ways of non-violent protest.

"I am committed to working with Congress and the State Department to implement a more efficient system in line with public expectations," he added.

After the June announcement thousands of holders of H1-B visas-reserved for skilled workers in computing, engineering and other special professions-scrambled and spent money on lawyers and medical exams to prepare green card applications for a July 1 deadline.

However, US State Department announced on July 2 that no applications would be accepted until October because of a large visa backlog. The abrupt change sent them back to the queue for 2008.

The USCIS announcement on Tuesday allows anyone who was eligible to apply under the June announcement to do so by Aug 17. Applications already properly filed with USCIS will also be accepted, it said.

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