The US Embassy is set to open 100,000 slots for H and L work visa categories, said Don Heflin, Minister Counselor for Consular Affairs at the US Embassy in New Delhi. Don Heflin informed about the opening of visa slots while responding to visa issues.
Visa slots for H and L categories of workers will open in the coming weeks, he added. Attributing the long wait for visas to the Covid pandemic, the official said US consulate staff would return to pre-Covid levels in less than a year. Temporary staff and drop boxes are being put in place to reduce long wait times, he added.
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“Our recovery from Covid and post-Covid staffing issues is well underway. At the height of Covid, and for some time after, we only had about 50% of the (visa staff) we should have Now we’re about 70% We’re going to be about 100% staffed a little before this time next year…by then (we’ll be) able to handle about 100% volume of ( applications) that we received before Covid,” Don Heflin said.
It comes after External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar raised the issue of India’s visa backlog during his meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken earlier this week. The senior US diplomat said he was sensitive to the issue and had a plan to address it.