New Delhi: Indians aspiring to migrate to the US using “fraudulent” travel documents would be in trouble as the American Embassy here has intensified efforts to curb visa fraud in view of an “alarming” rise in the number of such applicants.
Embassy officials said the US encourages “legitimate Indian travellers” but some visa consultants and individuals have been found “misleading” people by telling them that the US has simplified visa rules and “now is the time to get easy visas” in a clear case of “consumer fraud”.
They said the US mission in India is “alarmed” by the mad rush of “clearly unqualified” visa applicants in recent weeks, creating a scarcity of visa apppointments in New Delhi and in Mumbai for legitimate travellers during the busy summer travel season.
The situation has become so bad that the American Embassy here is cooperating with Indian government agencies to arrest people who turn up with false documents and try to get visas “fraudulently”, clogging up the system.
“There are individuals and companies who are taking advantage of Indian citizens by suggesting they can provide a short cut to an American visa. We want to make it clear that no firm or person can help you obtain a US visa,” Geoff Pyatt, Charge d’Affaires at the US mission here, said.
Intending immigrants are now trying to get non-immigrant visas and are being duped by these companies and individuals, US officials said and pointed out that because of the rush the refusal rates has also “dramatically” gone up, particularly in the captial where it is as high as 60%.