Does ‘global unrest’ deter Indians to visit the ‘land of promise’? Not really, if you go by Kolkata’s Consular Officer’s statement. This is what she, Rebecca Dodds, has to say (Source: Want to visit US? Apply to VSF):
Last year over 300,000 non-immigrant visas were issued throughout India, nearly 8 per cent of them here in Kolkata. The demand for visa services has grown dramatically as tourism, trade, scholarly exchange and business cooperation expand between the United States and India. This demand will continue to grow, and it is estimated that India will soon rank second only to Mexico in visa issuances.
That the visits to US are on rise is evident when I see several frequent travelers in my not-so-affluent neighborhood. They’re mainly techies, required to shuttle between their US ‘workstation’ and Kolkata office to cater to outsourced works.
Them apart, there isn’t much visiting US among common people, except students who are no longer hesitant to extend the boundary of their aspiration to learn in ‘foreign’ institutes. For all that is happening, what indeed is noticeable is the change in perception about US.
It is no longer necessary to be very fluent in English to work in US, what with thousands of people from other countries there speaking no better English than us. Iraq or no Iraq, US is a land of opportunity. It matters little – except in high circles – who you are, what you are. If you’ve some amount of grey matter between your eyes, you’re free to try out your luck.
But perhaps, what is less said but equally, if not more, important is that there is a ready recognition of talent there. If you really have it in you, there’ll be someone to back you with resources for you to flourish. Nothing proves this more than the spectacular IT successes like Yahoo, Google, Amazon, ebay, and so on, and more recently, MySpace, Digg, YouTube, etc. If all these are tech-successes, the same is true in other fields as well. Just check out life-history of some great personalities in Wikipedia.
I do not support US’ Iraq policy, which has fittingly become their worst quagmire in recent times. But then, US is much much more than simply Iraq or Afghanistan. This is something we, the Indians, are coming to appreciate as the doors are slowly but surely opening up for us.