US embassy is set to open 100,000 slots for H and L worker visa categories, Don Heflin, minister counsellor for consular affairs at the US embassy in New Delhi, said. Don Heflin informed about the visa slots opening while addressing visa concerns.
The visa slots for H and L worker categories will be opened within the next few weeks, he added. Attributing the long waiting period for visas to the Covid pandemic, the official said staffing at US consulates will return to pre-Covid levels in less than a year. Temporary staff and drop boxes are being set up to reduce the long wait times, he further said.
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“Our recovery from Covid and post-Covid staffing problems is well underway. At the height of Covid, and for a while after, we only had about 50% of the (visa staffing) we should have. Now, we’re at about 70%. We’re going to be at about 100% staffing a little bit before this time next year… at that point (we’ll) be able to handle about 100% of the volume of (applications) we got before Covid,” Don Heflin said.
This comes after External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar raised the issue of the backlog of visa applications from India in his meeting with the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken earlier this week. The top American diplomat said he is sensitive to the matter and had a plan to address it.