Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Govt seeks US consulate for B’lore

Govt seeks US consulate for B’lore

By Bangalore Mirror Bureau
Posted On Wednesday, September 24, 2008

With the number of Bangaloreans travelling to the US on the rise, the Karnataka government on Tuesday requested the US Consulate to open an office in the city.

“The number of visa applications from the state is increasing and the people have to travel to Chennai to seek visas. It will help the people if the Consulate opens an office here,” home minister V S Acharya told US Consul General Andrew T Simkin, who had come to the city to participate in the fourth anniversary celebrations of American Corner, a library at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan.

Over 40,000 people seek different types of visas every year and all of them have to go to Chennai to get their applications processed. Besides, over 7,000 US nationals live in the state, he added. Besides the coveted software industry, Bangalore is all set to top the list of visa applicants to the US in the world. Believe it or not, the IT city is considered a close contender to the neighbouring Chennai, which is at no 3 on the global list, with 2,98,000 visa applications to the US in a single year. Law Minister Suresh Kumar requested Simkin to start an application receiving centre till a full-fledged office is set up in Bangalore.

Simkin said: “With Chennai already adorning the no 3 position in the world, the same kind of response is expected from Bangalore with more young professionals and students flocking the US for higher education.”

Simplifying the process of getting a visa, which is otherwise termed ardous, Simkim explained, “Unlike earlier days, one can expect a visa in just couple of weeks now provided there is good cooperation from the people too by furnishing the right documents.” However, the consulate is working together with the Bangalore police to keep tabs on cyber crimes.

Elaborating on the plan of opening an US Consul General in Hyderabad in the next three months, Simkim said that Bangalore can also expect the same in future, if not immediately. “American companies see south India as the pool of best talent. From hi-tech operations to fabulous R&D, it has got it all. So we get the best manpower from here,” he opined.

Visiting Bangalore for the first time, he was all delighted and glad to come to this city.”After staying in Chennai for couple of weeks, this weather is extremely nice. I was amused by the stunning infrastructure at the airport. It was awesome,” Simkin said.

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