US based Indian Scientists stranded in American visa limbo

April 12th, 2009 - 4:13 pm ICT by ANI  

New Delhi, Apr. 12 (ANI): US based scientist Surojit Sarkar, who came to visit his ailing father in India three months back, is still stranded here due to administrative limbo over his U.S. work visa status.

Sarkar, 36, is one of thousands of highly skilled scientists, professors and technology workers, who have been trapped in their home countries in recent times, the Global Mail reports.

“When I said I have a PhD and worked with vaccines, the visa officer abruptly stopped what he was doing. I must have uttered a keyword for some security threat,” said Sarkar, US educated scientist who works on HIV vaccines at Emory University.

The deputy assistant secretary of state, David Donahue, attributed this limbo to the increasing number of highly skilled workers in developing countries.

“Delays have increased because of rising demand for U.S. visas all over the world. The middle class is growing rapidly in India, China, Mexico and Brazil, the average wait for a U.S. visa has risen to about three months,” said Donahue.

More than 25 stranded scientists and technology workers recently gathered to share stories of being put on unpaid leave or of missing medical treatments and business meetings.

Deepika Mohan’s 11-year-old son missed so much school waiting for her visa situation to clear that he was set back a year. Mohan works in Boston, inventing medical diagnostic instruments.

Although their employers are anxious to get them back to work, Sarkar and others said, they would not wait forever, especially in a strained economic climate.

“These are top scientists and engineers. Ultimately, all of these delays only hurt the U.S economy,” said Sarkar. (ANI)

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