PHOTO BY: USCIS
Ramya and her husband, Snnivas

Ramya and her husband, Snnivas, who are both from India, became U.S. citizens at the Phoenix Field Office. When asked how she felt about naturalizing on her birthday, she said she was "honored and privileged to be a United States citizen."



Washington, DC – With 2018 inching forward in its last lap months, there is positive news for Indians in the US both with US citizenship and with H-1B visas.

There has been a steady increase in the number of Indian nationals renouncing their Indian citizenship for the US over the past years. The US Department of Homeland Security in its latest annual immigration report said that in 2017, as many as 50,802 Indians took citizenship of the United States. The figure is four thousand more than the corresponding one in 2016 of 46,188 and eight thousand more than 42,213 Indian citizenship in 2015. In total, 707,265 foreign nationals took the oath of American citizenship in 2017, as against 753,060 in 2016 and 730,259 in 2015.

The report indicated that as many as 12,000 newly naturalized American citizens from India settled in California, followed by New Jersey (5,900), and Texas (3,700).

The scenario for the much-coveted H-1B visas was also encouraging with Indian citizens accounting for nearly three out of every four H-1B visa holders. According to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), there were as many as 419,637 foreign nationals working in the US on H-1B visas as on October 5. Of these, 309,986 are Indians, the USCIS said in its report ‘H-1B petitions by gender and country of birth fiscal year 2018’.

Overall, the report revealed a massive gender disparity with only one out of every four H-1B visa holders being female but the disparity was wider among Indians applying and getting the H-1B visas.

Of the 309,986 Indians on H-1B visas in the US this October, only 63,220 or 20.4 percent are females while nearly 245,517 Indians on H-1B visas or 80 per cent (79.2 per cent to be precise) are males.

The H-1B gender report was released days after the Trump administration came out with its unified fall agenda, in which it said that it plans to make changes in the definition of specialty occupation for the definition of H-1B visas and re-redefining the relationship between employees and employers.

Despite much hyped statements from Indian government officials and political leaders supporting H-1B visa applicants and holders, both categories continue to hold Indian citizenship. The US administration is working to weed out rampant fraud in H-1B visa allotment and to harmonize payment of compensations packages as Indians continue to suffer with getting less money in reality than agreed to in contracts.

With thousands of Indian citizens embracing the much-coveted American citizenship and still more getting the nod for H-1B visas to live and work in the US, it is time for the Indian community here to get its act together. Till date, the proportion of Indian leaders running for office compared to the educational qualifications and financial power held by the booming population is dismal, and most Americans of Indian heritage are satisfied with photo-opportunities with the celebrities and getting nominated positions.

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