Washington: In a move beneficial to Indian IT professionals, the United States will begin a pilot program in December for domestic renewal of certain categories of H-1B visas.
The H-1B visa allows US companies to hire foreign workers in occupations requiring technical skills. Tens of thousands of people from India and China are hired this way every year.
The White House announced the plan last June when Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the US. Initially 20,000 applicants will get this facility. The demand for US visas in India is very high, said the Deputy Assistant for Visa Services. Secretary of State Julie Stough said.
Currently the waiting time for a visa is six to 12 months. Such a long period is not desirable considering the consideration given by the US to India. The US wants to ensure that applicants from India receive visas as soon as possible. One of the measures for this is the pilot scheme for domestic renewal of visas for foreigners.
20,000 foreigners who are currently in the United States will get visas in three months from December. The number will be increased later. Indians make up a large proportion of skilled workers in the United States. Therefore, Indians will benefit the most from the project, she said.