For the last few years, US consulates across India have excessively scrutinized visa applicants in the H-1B and L categories. These refer to highly skilled professional workers and inter-company transfers, respectively, who can work on temporary visas subject to renewal for a maximum of five to seven years. But last week, the US Embassy in India announced that interviews for H-1B and L visa renewals can be waived. This will not affect first time H and L visa applicants.
This appears to be more than a bureaucratic decision. Hundreds of thousands of H-1B visa holders live and work in the US, with the largest number from India, and China a distant second. Horror stories abound about questions and delays during the visa renewal process, resulting in months-long waits for Indian workers to return to their desks in Silicon Valley or Wall Street, their cubicles in Omaha and lab benches in Philadelphia. Some have lost jobs in the process