Americans seek employment in India

  Robert Durbin was looking nervous when he went to the India Visa services centre in Manhattan this past week.

With a professional degree in Information Technology from New York University last year, Durbin has been desperately looking for a job for the past six months; but unsuccessful so far, primarily because US companies these days have been cutting jobs rather than recruiting new people.

After months of job search, the only place Durbin received a job offer was from a Bangalore-based IT major this month. ”I am here to apply for my work visa to India,” Durbin told, standing outside the India Visa Services Centre in Manhattan, to which the Indian Embassy and Consulates have outsourced visa-processing system.

Durbin, requesting his identity not be disclosed till he joins the job in Bangalore next month, said he was nervous as he did not know if he will get the work visa or not. ”I hope, I will,” he said, as he went inside to submit his applications. It will take another couple of days before he knows if his application has been approved.

Without referring to this particular case, P S Sasi Kumar, who handles the visa section at the Indian Consulate in New York told that normally most of the applications for work visas are being approved. Of late, the Consulate in New York has been experiencing a steady flow of such applications seeking work visa.

Though, India might still not be a hot destination for foreigners like the US is for Indians for jobs, Kumar said applications for work visa has been gradually increasing. From what used to be a rare category of visas a couple of years ago, hardly a day passes when the Consulate in New York does not receive at least one such application in this regard.

In the past two years, the New York Consulate has issued work visa to more than 900 people. In 2006 the New York Consulate issued 335 employment visas while in 2007, more than 430 employment visas were issued. If the trend of the first three months is of any indication, 2008 could well break all previous records. It is a couple of applications every day, Kumar said.

While New York tops the list, the three other Indian consulates in the US – in San Francisco, Houston and Chicago – and the Indian Embassy in Washington have also seen quite a number of applications for work visa.

Figures made available indicated the Indian Embassy in Washington issued about 300 work visas in past two years, while Houston Consulate down South issued nearly 100; indicating India is gradually emerging as employment destination for the Americans as job opportunities in the US has increasingly been shrinking in past two years.

This is widely being attributed to the recent economic recession here which has resulted in job loss in thousands, wherein US multinationals have shifted their work oversees mainly to countries like India and China.

While no official survey of applications for work visa has been done, Kumar said most of the requests for employment visas are either in the IT sector or aviation; reflecting the job opportunities in these two sectors. In aviation sector it is mainly professional pilots who have been applying for work visas.

Other visa categories

Statistics made available to by the Indian Embassy in Washington DC indicated a significant jump in the visas being issued. Tourist and business visas are the most popular visa categories. For instance, the San Francisco Consulate in 2007 issued as many as 108,301 compared to 61,725 in 2003.

The Houston Consulate, down South, issued 42,465 tourist visas in 2007 against 32,849 in 2003. The Indian Embassy in Washington issued 32,471 tourist visas in 2007, while 25,369 visas were issued in the year 2003.

The New York Consulate, being located in the financial capital of the world, issued more than 24,000 business visas in the year 2007, while the previous year it was a little over 20,000.

Outsourcing of visa services

Visa services were outsourced in the US last year, given the sudden increase in the volume of applications in this regard and the small staff at the Indian Embassy and Consulates deployed in this regard.

Initial report indicates that outsourcing of visa services – an initiative of the Indian Ambassador to the US, Ronen Sen – has ended the frustrating long wait for the seekers of Indian visas in the US.


One Response to “Americans seek employment in India”

  1. Recession has started to raise its ugly head, and the ripples are being felt world over. Every other day the news of layoffs have started to pour in. Here Rakesh has rightly pointed out the current scenario, its a process of reverse outsourcing. Is it the right time for Indian to make a hue and cry over this 😉 and make a election issue out of it? The scenario in India is pretty decent as compared to the US. Here companies are even shelling out big money for referrals, one I know is Yello Jobs, which was associated with NDTV in the past.

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