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More than 1,000 unstamped visa holders stranded in India

As many as 1,000 unstamped H-1B, other nonimmigrant visa holders have been stranded in India since Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a nationwide lockdown in India on March 24.

The U.S. embassy in New Delhi and the consulates in Chennai, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Kolkata canceled all the routine immigrant and nonimmigrant visa appointments on March 16, eight days before Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a nationwide lockdown in India.

The website of the embassy says the missions will resume routine visa services “as soon as possible but are unable to provide a specific date at this time.”

In the past few weeks, these stranded H-1B workers have been desperately knocking on all doors, both individually and collectively. They have also written to various U.S. lawmakers representing the states and constituencies they live in and taken to social media in an attempt to raise awareness about their situation.

So far it has all fallen on deaf ears.

Even though only 26 of those stranded in India have lost their jobs so far, more could, if they are unable to report back to work in a reasonable period.

If an H-1B holder loses a job, it won’t be easy to land a new one because the new employer has to not just offer a job, but sponsor a new H-1B visa as well. And it has to be done within 60 days of termination.

Those stranded in India are requesting the U.S. government to allow them to come back on humanitarian grounds, considering the unprecedented nature of the crisis and the emotional and physical toll that they have been subjected to.

According to the USCIS website, “Humanitarian parole is used sparingly to bring someone who is otherwise inadmissible, into the United States for a temporary period of time due to a compelling emergency” and there “must be an urgent humanitarian reason or significant public benefit for the parole to be granted.”


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