In my comments of July 17 and July 18, I described the anxiety and confusion of a distinguished Indian cancer researcher, who happens to be one of my own clients, over the inexplicable and inexcusable delay which he was subjected to by the US embassy in New Delhi in the processing of his application for an extraordinary ability (EB-1) immigrant visa (green card).
To recapitulate, the applicant in question is well recognized as India's leading medical researcher in his particular area of cancer research and had compiled a record of achievement which is truly impressive. His EB-1 self-petition was approved by the USCIS in only a few days.
As my earlier comments described in more detail, at his immigrant visa interview, despite the fact that his complete file, containing over a hundred pages of evidence was sitting on the visa officer's desk, the officer was evidently too busy to read it. Instead, he told the applicant to submit further information about his proposed "visit" to the US and wait for an answer.
The questionaire he was given contained requests for information only appropriate for people planning short visits to the US in connection with a B-1 or B-2 application, not a green card. Nevertheless, he answered the questionnaire as best he could.
Two months and many inquiries later, the applicant received a message ftom the embassy saying that it was in the process of "verification" of the information submitted in support of the visa application, almost all of which was a matter of public record and therefore not open to any serious doubt. At the time, this appeared to be a cause for legitimate anxiety, because of anecdotal reports that a number of temporary visas, such as H-1B, have been unreasonably delayed or denied by US consular officers in India over "verification" issues involving trivial or irrelevant details.
My client and I became concerned whether the "cancer" of unjustified temporary visa delays and denials was "metastasizing" from the handling of temporary visas such as H-1B to the processing of immigrant, or green card, visas such as the one this eminent cancer researcher was seeking.
Fortunately, however, the immigrant visa was issued shortly thereafter without further incident, and the researcher arrived in the US with his well earned green card. Therefore, despite the apparently incompetent (or worse) handling of his immigrant visa application by the embassy, everything finally worked out for the best. As Shakespeare says: "All's well that ends well".
However, while this did in fact, fortunately, end well for my client, one has to ask whether it ended as well as it might have for the American people. During the waiting time to receive his visa, the client received an offer to conduct research in India that was so attractive that he is now considering pursuing some of his research activities in his own country anyway, at least temporarily.
He advised me that if his US visa had been promptly granted, he would never have found out about the offer in India, because he would already have relocated to the US before it arrived at his home in India. Therefore, there would have been no need to reconsider his original intention to conduct 100 per cent of his future research activities in the US.
While he still fully intends to continue his activities in the US permanently, he may be carrying out some of his research in India instead. While in this case, there would be only a partial loss to US research facilities and leadership in this particular area of specialization, the moral of the story is clear. If America wants to attract and hold on to the best and the brightest, it should not pursue policies designed to drive them away.
Roger Algase is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. He has been practicing business immigration law in New York City for more than 20 years