India is planning to formally challenge the sharp rise in the rejections of US visas for Indian professionals. With the rising trend in US visa rejection being observed by a team of legal experts, India may extend its formal dispute of visa fee hike along with the abrupt increase in visa rejections.
Owing to a bill passed in 2010, United States of America has almost doubled the fees for H1B work permit and L-1 visas. According to Rahul Khullar , Commerce Secretary, India would raise this issue at the WTO.
H1B work permit visas are issued to specialty workers for temporary period whereas L-1 visas are issued to qualified professionals for relocation within the same company in the US office.
According to a government official, “We plan to extend our proposed WTO dispute on the visa fee hike with the US to the increased rejection in visas for intra-corporate transferees if we are able to build up our case effectively on the matter.”
According to data released by US State Department, the L-1 visas issued in 2011 in India have decreased by 28 percent compared to year 2010. On the other hand, L-1 visas issued in the rest of the world have increased by a mind-blowing 15 percent.
The abnormal rise in the rejection is a problem which needs to be tactfully solved so that the professionals from India, especially from the IT sector are not affected.
Nasscom claims that the rejection rate in some US missions in India have touched a high of 70 per cent while the average rejection rate rising to 40 percent from a low of 2.8 percent in the past. According to the government official, “We are in the process of gathering more information on the possible violation of the US’s mode 4 obligation that relates to movement of workers in GATS, the services agreement of the WTO.”
According to a legal expert working on the case, “We have to establish factually whether Indian companies are being discriminated against and unfairly targeted.”
“We have to weigh both happenings and then build our case,” he added.