Imagility News

Delay in H-1B Visa Stamp Plan Roll-out Raises Concerns Among Indian Professionals

US Ambassador to India, Eric Garcetti’s recent announcement of a pilot program for domestic visa renewal for qualified H&L-category employment visa applicants generated enthusiasm among thousands of Indian professionals working in the US. The current process for Indians on H-1B and L visas involves restamping visas in India, leading to long waiting periods, uncertain outcomes, workplace absences, and family separations in the US.

However, the delay in implementing the program has caused disappointment. Earlier this year, the US State Department had announced the launch of the pilot program “later this year” to offer in-country visa renewal options for H-1B and L-1 workers. Despite assurances during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s state visit to the US in June, stating that work permit visas, including H-1B visa renewals, would be stamped in-country, the timeline remains uncertain.

The delayed implementation raises concerns, especially among those who anticipated the program’s rollout by the end of this year. The holiday season adds complexity, impacting individuals planning to visit families. Emily Neumann, an attorney at Reddy & Neumann, acknowledges the potential benefits of streamlining the H-1B visa process but emphasizes the importance of staying informed and adapting plans accordingly.

Legal experts express optimism about the program’s eventual rollout, with indications that it will be limited initially. Manjunath Gokare, founder of Gokare Law Firm, anticipates expansion in 2024, benefiting H-4 dependents and L-1 visa holders. This change would alleviate challenges posed by green card backlogs, allowing H-1B visa renewals in the US before travel to India.

Dr. Raj Karnatak, an Indian physician in the US, highlights the inhumane consequences of green card backlogs, preventing skilled immigrants from attending family emergencies. While the initiative to facilitate domestic visa stamping is praised, delays raise uncertainty about its realization.

The benefits of stamping work permit visas in the US include reduced pressure on consulates, efficient access to appointments, and increased safety and predictability for H-1B visa holders. This step is crucial for personal and professional travel planning, providing stability and convenience for both visa holders and employers.

The timeline indicates the US State Department’s February and June announcements of the pilot program. Recommendations by advocates like Ajay Bhutoria highlight the urgency of addressing difficulties faced by legal immigrants. The joint statement released during PM Modi’s visit emphasized the significance of conducting H-1B visa renewal stamping in the US. The program, once launched, aims to address challenges faced during the pandemic when consulates shut down, preventing travel for expired visas.

Source: MSN