NRIs in Middle East: Expatriates scramble for return tickets as Qatar crisis escalates

News update from mathrubhumi on the Quatar crisis:

Kasargod:  The expatriate community in Qatar is scrambling to find tickets to come back home following the escalating crisis in the country following the isolation of Doha. Following the crisis, the expats who booked tickets through or from other Gulf Countries are in a rush to find or buy tickets on Indian and Sri Lankan flight operators before the vacation begins on June 22.

The airlines in the Gulf countries have responded to the crisis by assuring the passengers a full refund of the ticket amount. The expats, in the meanwhile, have pointed out that the move is insufficient to tide over the crisis as the airfares have quadrupled following the crisis.

Several Malayalies who run their own businesses in the Gulf countries conduct their financial transactions out of Doha. The country is also at risk of food shortage as was signaled by the heavy rush at the hypermarkets. The food, egg, meat and milk supplies of Qatar are either from or routed through Saudi but the country hopes the transactions will have a smooth flow in the holy month of Ramzan.

Meanwhile, KMCC President SAM Basheer has asked the Malayaly community to have faith in the administrators of Qatar. High-level talks are on to diffuse the crisis and the community should abstain from interfering in the domestic affairs of the country and beware of negative propaganda in social media.

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Sushma Swaraj: Even if you are stuck on the Mars, Indian Embassy there will help you.

Last week, NBC’s Megyn Kelly asked Indian PM Modi if he is on Twitter

Indian digirati quickly took to social media asking Ms. Kelly to do her homework before interviewing world leaders. At last count, beloved NaMo had over 30 million followers!

NaMo

With 8 million plus followers, Indian External Affairs Minister, Sushma Swaraj continues to make waves. In the past, we have blogged “NRIs wonder: How do I bring my issue to the attention of Sushma Swaraj?”

Her latest tweet is a bit Tongue-in-cheek, but may not be too far fetched.

 

Yes CNN, all nonsense words have their roots in Sanskrit

नमो नमः, नमस्कारः Alisyn Camerota and Chris Cuomo,

Kudos to you and CNN for the highly entertaining and engaging interview of this year’s Spelling Bee champion, the 12-year-old Ananya Vinay.

The maturity you guys displayed in quizzing the young Spelling Bee champion about “a nonsense word” tweeted by the President of this great land shows class and finesse!  I just don’t understand all the ruckus over your innocuous remark about Sanskrit.

In a time-honored journalistic tradition, you seem to have researched extensively on South Asians and Sanskrit before the interview. You guessed rightly, that Sanskrit happens to be the mother tongue of the 1.2 billion Indians (just as Latin is the Lingua Franca in all Latin American countries)

I feel the same way as you. Every brown-skinned American kid should be well versed in the language of the land their parents or grandparents migrated out of. After all, didn’t former President Obama speak fluent Swahili?

In your googling you must have come across this little-known fact: Indian babies don’t cry. Rather the first word they utter after slipping out of their mother’s womb is the rhythmic chanting of Om (or Auṃ in Sanskrit: ॐ).  I remember my grandmother singing Sanskrit lullabies to me and my cousins while growing up in the old country; I am sure Ananya’s grandma did so too.

I am glad you are brushing up on your Sanskrit before you interview the Indian-American Fab Five members of the Congress. A few words of Sanskrit with a Namaste is sure to break the ice when you happen to bump into Niki Haley or Bobby Jindal.

Punardarśanāya’ from an Anon-Desi | From  Little India, El Camino Real; where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average spelling Bee contestants.

I’m a multi millionaire and I want to move to the USA, will I be granted a permanent visa?

Here is a recent query from an online forum. The questioner adds

“I have no plans to work, or claim welfare of any kind. Simply buy a property and spend my days relaxing, shopping and so on.”

Our editor responds: Merely the intent to move to the US will not get you a visa.  However, since you are a multi-millionaire, and have a million dollars to invest, you may be eligible for certain categories of immigrant visas. As a high-net-worth individual/entrepreneur, you qualify for several types of visas. You could apply for the following:

  • E-2 Treaty Investor (nonimmigrant visa) – According to the USCIS, one is eligible for an E-2 visa if you invest a substantial amount of money in a new or existing U.S. business. This is applicable for individuals from countries that have a treaty of commerce with the United States. This visa isn’t an immigrant visa, so it has an initial period of stay of 2 years. You can extend the visa in two-year increments.
  • EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program (immigrant visa and green card) – Check out the detailed Q&A: What is Eb5 visa?  EB5 is a popular program that some wealthy Chinese and Indians have been availing. After your attorney files the green card application, one should be prepared to do an interview and wait about six months before being granted the Visa

 

Q&A: What would be the impact under Indian laws for Indians, either residents or non-residents, getting citizenship in other countries?

Indian law does not prevent an individual from acquiring a foreign citizenship. However, after acquiring a foreign citizenship, an individual has to Renounce their Indian Citizenship (ref link: Consulate General of India )

“It is mandatory for all persons of Indian origin, who had ever held an Indian passport, to renounce their Indian citizenship upon acquiring any foreign nationality. This is a prerequisite to obtain Visas or OCI cards from the Consulate.”

Over 30,000 Indians overstayed in U.S. in 2016: US Government

This week, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released the Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 Entry/Exit Overstay Report. 

Last week we heard of a “58-Year-Old Indian Man Detained At Atlanta Airport By US Immigration” who died in custody. The question of illegal and overstay of visas is extremely nebulous. The other question still remains unanswered: In an age of additional scrutiny by Trump government, Indians and others still have an urge to overstay the duration of their approved visas.

One of the tables from the report highlighting overstays.

DHSOverstay

A few facts about Indians highlighted in the report:

  • Of the 30,000, a little over 6,000 Indian nationals left the U.S. after the expiry of their visas, the report said.
  • In 2016, more than one million Indians who came to the U.S. on business, tourist or pleasure were expected to leave the country. Of these, 17,763 have overstayed in the country, it said.
  • Among the overstayed are 2,040 Indians who departed the U.S. only after the expiry of their visas.
  • This year’s report also includes visitors who entered on a student or exchange visitor visa (F, M, or J visa). Of the 1,457,556 students and exchange visitors scheduled to complete their program in the United States in FY16, 79,818 stayed beyond their authorized window for departure, resulting in a 5.48 percent overstay rate. Of the 79,818, 40,949 are suspected in-country overstays (2.81 percent).
  • In 2016, as many as 9,897 Indian students or exchange scholars were expected to depart by the end of the year and of which, 4,575 overstayed their legal period.
  • 1,561 Indian students and exchange visitors left the country after their visas expired, while 3,014 of them have overstayed in the country, the report said.

Copy of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) – Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 Entry/Exit Overstay Report.

The findings of the report were highlighted extensively in the Indian media

 

58-Year-Old Indian Man Detained At Atlanta Airport By US Immigration, Dies In Custody

A 58-year-old Indian man died on Tuesday in the custody of US immigration officials at a hospital in Atlanta. Atul Kumar Babubhai Patel was detained last week for allegedly not possessing necessary immigration documents while entering the country. Mr Patel arrived at the Atlanta airport on May 10 on a flight from Ecuador.

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement took Mr Patel to custody at the Atlanta City Detention Center for two days. Officials said the preliminary cause of his death is congestive heart failure.

The Immigration department, in a statement, said the US Customs and Border Protection denied Mr Patel entry into the country as he did not possess the necessary immigration documents. He was then transferred to the custody of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

At the Atlanta City Detention Center, Mr Patel received an initial medical screening and was found to have high blood pressure and diabetes.

On Saturday, a nurse checking Mr Patel’s blood sugar noticed he had a breathing problem following which he was shifted to a hospital where he passed away.

The immigration department said it is firmly committed to the health and welfare of all those in its custody and is “undertaking a comprehensive agency-wide review of the incident, as it does in all such cases”.

The agency has informed the Indian consular representatives who informed Mr Patel’s family about his death.

The agency said that deaths in its custody are “exceedingly rare” and occur at a fraction of the rate of the US detained population as a whole.  (With inputs from PTI)


From the editor – Most of the news accounts highlight the death of Mr. Patel. However, there is no word on the reason for his travel from Ecuador to Atlanta.

Other media accounts of this incident

Where are most first generation (Asian) Indian Americans settled in USA?

Here is an interesting question from an online forum “Where are most first generation (Asian) Indian Americans settled in USA? Like I know that they came in California, Washington & Oregon… But what about the trends that later followed? Did anyone choose agriculture oriented states like Iowa or Idaho? I can also see that ~500k Indian Americans are in California itself.” 

Response from our editor

The US Census has begun cataloging “South Asians” and Asian Americans. Among South Asians, Indians are the prominent sub-category.

Much of the research on this sub-category and Indian Americans in particular is empirical.

Check out the link: Statistics and Demographic information on Indians, NRIs and Global Asians in the US and North America

The challenge with census data is that a review of “Indian Americans” will include first and second/third generation Indian Americans (e.g Sundar Pichai and Kal Penn). It may also include those on temporary work and student visas, who happen to be legally resident in a state at the time of survey.