New Delhi :
India and the United States are looking at ways to cooperate at the consular level in events of crisis like natural disasters where the two countries can help each other in providing information about their citizens.
Michele Bond, US Assistant Secretary of state for Consular Affairs, also welcomed India’s efforts to bring in a legislation in line with the Hague Abduction Convention.
She is in India for an annual Consular Dialouge. The issue of H-1B visa also discussed between the two countries.
“Our thought is our governments might look at how we can cooperate on planning for the kinds of regional events that we want to be prepared to respond in a well-coordinated and well planned way.
“Because there are things that happen, say if we take the big tsunami some years ago where every country in the region is going to involved in responding, everyone is going to have citizens, ... We have citizens who are involved.
“Any kind of crisis where multiple governments need to be informed about...We see lot of example of natural and other kind of disasters where people who are involved need good information and their family members are frantically trying to find out where are they...are they ok?,” she said.
Regarding a legislation on H-1B and L Visa Reform Act of 2016 pending in the US Congress, Bond said over 70 per cent of the H1-B visas go to Indians.
Recently the visa fees for H-1B were also raised. The Indian IT sector had raised concerns about the legislation, which hurt its revenue model. She also said that there is no drop in visa applications.
“We did talk about those visas and it is very important to recognise what success story the H-1B and L visas are. Indians citizens receive almost 70 per cent of the all H-1B visas worldwide. So it is over-whelming Indian applicants are one the ones successful in qualifying for these visas,” Bond said.
She said increasing business to business ties, providing efficient and prompt assistance to business travellers on B-1 and H-I visas is a “big priority” for the US.
She added that as for the L visas, Indian citizens receive approximately 30 per cent of all L issued worldwide.