43% rise in student visas to US from city
Posted on December 9, 2014
CHENNAI: There is a 43% increase in the number of student visas to the US processed by the consulate in Chennai, compared to the last fiscal year. The Chennai centre processed 21,000 student visas between October 1, 2013, and September 30, 2014.
The US consulate in Chennai revealed the figures during a media tour of its consular section on Thursday.
Currently, there are more than 1,00,000 Indians studying in the US, according to the Institute of International Education’s annual Open Doors Report on international student traffic in and out of the US. The number of Indian students in the US increased by 6% to 1,02,673 in the 2013-14 academic year, after a three-year trend of declining numbers. It peaked at 1,05,000 in 2009-10 and dropped to 96,754 in 2012-13.
The numbers appear to have increased again this year.
The number of visa applications in the region has also gone up. Consulate officials said India processed more than 101,000 H-1B visas between October 2013 and September 2014, a 9% increase from the previous fiscal year. The US consulate general Chennai processed 242,000 non-immigrant visa applications, a 13% increase, “The overwhelming majority of these applications were issued,”
a consulate release said. The five centres of the US mission in India processed over 860,000 non-immigrant visas.
Talking to reporters after the tour, consular chief Lawrence Mire said they expected a 15%-20% growth in the number of visa applications in 2015. “We expect a higher growth in some visa categories than in others,” he added.
On visa rejection rates, Mire said the percentage had gone down from that prevailing 30 years ago. “Rejections are mostly because applicants are not qualified for the visa category they apply for.”
Chennai handles the most L-1 (a non-immigrant visa allowing firms operating both in the US and abroad to transfer certain employees from their foreign operations to US operations for up to seven years) and H-1B (a non-immigrant visa allowing US companies to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations requiring theoretical or technical expertise in fields such as architecture, engineering, mathematics, science and medicine for up to six years) applications in the world. Around 7% of all US non-immigrant visa applications come from India.
The officials said Chennai adjudicated around one-fourth of all H-1B visas worldwide, or more than 20,000 L-1 visas, with all Blanket L-1 visas centralised in Chennai
Mire said applying for a US visa was easy when candidates apply early and preferably between October and March, and when applicants turn up for the visa interview just 15 minutes before the appointment.