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Thousands of H-1B, H-4 visa holders stuck in India due to US Covid travel restriction

2 min read
H-1B visas renewed

H-1B, H-4 visa holders: In early April, Payal Raj went with her family to India to renew the visas that permit them to live in the United States. She and her husband waited until they had been vaccinated, cautiously setting up their paperwork as indicated by the advice of their immigration attorneys. But the visa itself would soon strand her in India indefinitely, separating her from her husband and daughter in Hendersonville, Tennessee.

“Our family is in an emergency,” said Raj, who is one of the thousands of immigrants stuck in India. In part because of the Biden government’s restrictions on most travels from the nation. Imply that temporary visa holders are explicitly barred from reentering the United States.

Moreover, the restrictions, given as a devastating surge in Covid cases have overwhelmed India in recent weeks. Prohibit Raj and others like her from returning to their homes, families, and jobs in the United States. Even those exempt under the ban are in limbo as the outbreak forces the U.S. Embassy and consulates to close, leaving many with no clear path home.

H-1B, H-4 visa holders stuck in India due to Covid travel restriction

Raj’s husband, Yogesh Kumar, an operations manager for a multinational corporation, lives in the United States on an H-1B visa. Or a temporary permit for highly technical foreign workers. As dependents, Raj and their girl hold H-4 visas, which allow temporary workers to bring immediate family and should be renewed about every three years at an embassy or consulate outside the United States.

Kumar and his daughter, Saanvi Kumar, renewed their visas. However, Raj was asked to submit biometrics and complete an in-person interview. Both of which would not be finished until after the travel restrictions went into effect two weeks ago.

[DHS Formally Rescinds a Regulation that Sought to Tighten H-1B Program Criteria]

Moreover, the White House didn’t react to inquiries about the restrictions on travel from India. Yet a State Department representative described them as “appropriate public health measures” that are “critical” to defeating the Covid.

Yet, critics say that the exclusions to the travel ban are unevenly applied and still danger spreading the virus. American residents and permanent residents, for example, can travel openly. While individuals who are completely vaccinated, test negative or isolate when flying can’t.

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