In remarks to the Mumbai Press Club, the newly installed U.S. Consul General to India, Peter Haas, stressed the importance of travel and immigration between the two countries.
Haas identified “enhancing people-to-people interactions” as his primary focus, and he singled out non-immigrant visas as one crucial element of this project.
He pointed out the United States issues about half a million non-immigrant visas each year to Indian citizens. Of non-immigrant visas issued to Indians in 2010, more than 90,000 were work visas, such as the H1B or L visa. This represented the most work visas issued to any single country last year, Haas stated.
More than 100,000 Indians are currently using educational visas to study in the United States, and to grow this number, the Fulbright-Nehru Scholarship program will be increased by 40 percent, Haas announced.
Haas said 2.8 million Indians live in the United States, either as permanent residents or on temporary non-immigrant visas.
Indians represent the third-largest immigrant group in the United States, behind Mexicans and Filipinos, according to a 2010 report by the Migration Policy Institute.