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USA to Process 8 Lakhs Visas in the Next One Year April 20, 2022 19:51

The Embassy of the United States of America in India is expected to process over 8 lakh visas in the next 12 months told a senior diplomat from the country. Donald L Heflin, Minister Counselor for Consular Affairs at the US Embassy told that 8 lakh visas are projected to be issued in the next one year and the slots for the processing of the visas are opened. He said that 1.2 million visas were issued before the outbreak of coronavirus. The sales would be back on the track in 2023 as per the update. The staff across India will be increased and the visa processing was done by 50 percent of the staff. More and more number of employees will be added and a new building is getting opened in Hyderabad. A dedicated helpline is set up to address the queries that are related to the visa applicants. All the consulates are having a dedicated phone number along with an email address through the visa applicants can contact the Embassy for assistance and other appointment-related queries. A higher number of visas are kept on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic and more announcements would be made in the coming weeks. By Siva Kumar

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Tunisian Man Charged With Indian Student's Murder March 23, 2022 14:33

A 22-year-old man from Tunisia has been arrested in relation with the death of Sabita Thanwani, an Indian-origin student. He appeared before the Highbury Corner Magistrate Court in London yesterday. The Tunisian man was identified as Maher Maaroufe and he was in a relationship with the Indian student. Her body was recovered from her accommodation in the Clerkenwell region of London last weekend. Maher Maaroufe was taken into custody on suspicion and Sabita was a psychology student aged 19 years. The autopsy was conducted in Whittington Hospital on Monday and it said that the death happened due to force trauma to the neck. A team of detectives are investigating the matter and Maher Maaroufe was charged and he had no fixed address. He was earlier charged with assault of an emergency worker as per the records of the cops. Sabita was a British national and she had serious injuries to her neck at the Arbour HHose student flats in the region of Clerkenwell. Her family paid tributes for her calling that incident a tragedy. Her family said that Sabita was caring and a loving person. She was on a mission to help everyone. She is pursuing psychology at the City University. A manhunt was staged to trace Maher Maaroufe and he was spotted in Thanwani on Friday. By Siva Kumar

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India to Resume International Flights From March 27th March 09, 2022 15:05

Two years after the coronavirus pandemic, the Indian government announced that it would resume the regular international flights from March 27th on a full-fledged note. "After being recognized the increase of vaccination coverage across the globe and in consultation with the stakeholders, the government of India has decided to resume scheduled commercial international passenger services to/from India from March 27, 2022, i.e start of the summer schedule 2022" told the official statement from the Indian government. The Civil Aviation Ministry said that the international operations shall be subjected to the adherence to the Ministry of Health for the international travelers. The Director-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) extended the ban on regular commercial international passenger flights on February 28th, 2020. The operating flights under air bubble are arranged since 2021. India is holding air bubbles with the countries of Afghanistan, Australia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Canada, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Germany, Iraq, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Maldives, Mauritius, Nepal, Netherlands, Nigeria, Oman, Qatar, Russia, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Tanzania, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, US and Uzbekistan. Though the Aviation Ministry had plans to resume the regular international flights from December last year but was delayed due to the third wave of the coronavirus pandemic. By Siva Kumar

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Indian Embassy advises students in Ukraine to return back February 15, 2022 17:33

All the Indian students and citizens residing in Ukraine are advised to return back to the country after there are tense situations due to the issues between Russia and Ukraine. The Indian Embassy in Ukraine's Kyiv said this as an advisory. This was issued hours after the USA government's spokesperson hinted of Russia invading Ukraine on February 16th. The Indian Embassy's statement told "In view of the uncertainties of the current situation in Ukraine, Indian nationals in Ukraine, particularly students whose stay is not essential may consider leaving temporarily,". The Embassy also asked the Indian nationals in the country to avoid the non-essential travel in the country. The Embassy wanted the nationals to keep the mission informed about their location so that they can be contacted if required in the coming days. The Indian Embassy is also collecting all the contact details of the Indian students who are living and studying in Ukraine. As per the update, there are 16,000 Indian students in the country apart from the professionals.Russian military is cornering Ukraine from the east in Donbas and from the Black sea coast from the south. Russia is also conducting a military drill with Belarus. By Siva Kumar

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Indian-Origin Man Gets Life Sentence in the United Kingdom October 19, 2021 13:22

A 28-year-old man who is from India stabbed his wife multiple times and left her body on the pavement. He has been sentenced life imprisonment by a UK Court on Monday after he pleaded guilty to the murder. The man is named Kashish Aggarwal and he attacked his wife Geetika Goyal in their Leicester home located in Windtersdale Road in the Central England on March 3rd this year. He stabbed her multiple times and kept her body in the boot of his car and drove to Uppingham Close. He left her mortal remains on the street and returned back home. The Leicestershire Crown Court announced the verdict yesterday. Kashish Aggarwal got life imprisonment of minimum 20 years and six months. He may be eligible for parole after completing the sentence. Jenni Heggs, the Senior Investigating Officer said that the hearing will bot bring Geetika but it is like a justice for her family. Geetika was 29 years old. The investigation told that Kashish Aggarwal was only interested to cover the crime. He initially told that he had no idea about his wife and he changed the versions frequently a number of times. Kashish Aggarwal called his wife and her friends saying that she never returned home from work. It was the victim's brother who filed a complaint about her missing. On March 4th, the cops received calls about a woman's body lying on the pavement in the Uppingham Close. There were stabs located on her shoulder, chest, neck and arms. The cops launched a murder investigation and Kashish Aggarwal was taken into the custody after the initial investigation. The CCTV footage showed Kashish Aggarwal driving Goyal's car to leave the body. He was taken into custody on March 6th. Geetika's family traveled to India to scatter her ashes. All her friends said that Geetika was kind, humble and hard-working. By Siva Kumar

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Record Number of Indian Students to Apply for USA this Fall August 24, 2021 13:23

The number of Indian students studying in the USA have been gradually increasing over the years. There has been a sudden decline in the numbers because of the restrictions imposed by Donald Trump and his government. The United States Mission announced the approval of more students in the year 2021 by the Embassy and the Consulate. With these new efforts, more than 55,000 foreign students are expected to fly to the USA soon. The US Mission planned for a packed spring semester and they are expecting a great student season. Ambassador Atul Keshap, Charge d'Affaires at the U.S. Embassy said that it is a life changing experience for Indian students. Atul Keshap also reminded about the leading career opportunities and this also deepens the friendship bond between the USA and India. The coronavirus pandemic also turned a huge challenge for the US Mission and it forced them to postpone it. The Embassies and Consulates will interview the fall semester students soon. The U.S. Embassy and Consulates are now working for additional hours and visa appointments are opened. They are making all the efforts to ensure timely arrival for the academic programs for as many students as possible. The American Higher Education has 45000 nationally and regionally accredited universities and colleges. The students can get all the information about the US education, visa rules and policies through educationusaindia.usief.org.in. Special USA University Virtual Fairs are planned and they will be held on August 27th and September 3rd. The Indian students can get engaged with the representatives of the US universities and advisers. By Siva Kumar

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H-1B Visas: Joe Biden to reconsider Donald Trump's decisions March 13, 2021 16:13

The administration of the new USA President Joe Biden said that they are in plans to reconsider the objections or decisions for the foreign workers on H-1B visas of the three policy memos by the administration of Donald Trump. This will rescue thousands of Indian IT professionals who are having a tough time for the past few years. Donald Trump introduced various policies in the past for non-immigrant work visas and particularly for H-1B visas. On Friday, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that the decisions will be reconsidered. USCIS generally uses the discretion to reopen a motion that is filed more than 30 days after the decision is taken. USCIS issued Policy Memorandum 602-0114 on June 17th, 2020 and USCIS issued Policy Memorandum 602-0142.1 on February 3rd, 2021. A petitioner can request the reopening of any request based on three rescinded policy memos and this can be done by filling the Form 1-290B, Notice of Appeal or Motion, accompanied by the appropriate fee. USCIS also has the authority to accept and consider the motions under specific circumstances as explained. They generally process motions that are based on filing orders with the policy guidance. By Siva Kumar

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Can an H-1B employee work from India? February 12, 2021 19:40

On several occasions, the H-1B employees have the choices on their own about working from or outside USA. The employer may offer the employee to work from other country but there are laws that create several complications. Till 2019, a decision was made by the Department of Labor (DOL) for changing the calculus and the solution was that a H-1B employee can work from anywhere outside USA and can be paid any terms not only as per the laws of H-1B. In 2019, DOL said that the unless the H-1B is terminated by the employer, the obligations would continue. It is quite difficult to understand the H-1B laws are quite complex. The major requirement is that the H-1B employees cannot move out without any additional formalities. Everyone needs to ensure compliance of the US laws of posting the legal notices in an Indian office. This is considered as the debate among the most of the employers. The employers in USA are asked to come up with an additional compliance if needed if the job is relocated more than 50 miles from the location that is approved in advance of the employee. The laws make it clear that the normal commuting distance is 50 km and not beyond that and it makes it clear it is not possible to work from India. By Siva Kumar

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Indian Students contribute 7.6 Billion USD to the US in 2020 January 29, 2021 18:08

Indians comprise for 2% of America’s population. Each year, more than 2,00,000 students from India go the United states to study either for graduate, post graduate or do a PhD. India remains the second largest source of international student in the United States, even though there was a 4.4 percent decline this year due to the pandemic. According to a government record in association with the educational board, Indian students contributed to 7.6 billion USD to the United States Economy in the academic year 2019-2020. The country which is the first largest source of International students in the United States is China. China has been the first largest source of international students in the United States since 16 years continuously. There were over 3,72,000 Chinese students in the United states in the academic year 2019- 2020 despite the pandemic. Despite the 4.4 percent decline, India managed to have 1,93,124 students go to the United States to study this year, making it the second largest source. The report of this information was released by the United States’ Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and the Institute of International Education (IIE) in collaboration. For the fifth year in a row, USA hosted more than 1 million international students in only one academic year. Due to the pandemic, there had been a 1.8 percent decline in the number of international students in the United States. Even with the decline, this group represent 5.5 percent of all students in the United States higher education system. In 2019, The US Department of Commerce stated that international students contributed 44 billion USD to the USA economy and 7.69 billion USD was from India itself. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic USA is encouraging more international students to come study in the United States. The country predicts around 5 million international students in one academic year once the pandemic recedes. USA believes that international students bring culture, diversity, innovation, skill and friendly relations to the country. USA President Joe Biden has issued multiple benefits for international students who are studying in the states, making it easier for them to study, live and work. Among the top 20 places of origin, the largest percentage increase for international students were students from Bangladesh with a 7 percent, Brazil with a 4 percent and Nigeria with a 3 percent increase. The country with the most decrease in percentage was from Saudi Arabia with a staggering 17 percent decrease due to the change in the government’s scholarship program. By Meena Atmakuri

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International Students Triple In Canada Over A Decade December 08, 2020 17:10

Recent statistics state that the number of international students who have enrolled in Canada has tripled over the past decade and Canada is beyond delighted about it. As a country that encourages diversity, Canada provides an abundance of incentives for its immigrants. Before the pandemic began, the number of international students applying to Canada tripled the number of Canadians who study in Canada. In 2018/21019, 2.1 million student enrolled in universities across Canada, out of which 1.8 percent were from Canada itself while 16.2 percent of the numbers were from international students. Due to the pandemic however, this number decreased by 0.5 %. 2008 to 2018 was the benchmark for the number of immigrant students arriving to study in the country. During this period, the number of Canadian student enrollments also grew by 10.9 percent. The growth in immigrant students in this particular decade percentage grew from 6.4 to 16.2 percent.International students pay higher tuition fees as compared to domestic students. Canadian universities rely on International students tuition as a source of their income. Canadian Universities revenue grew by 4.7 percent after an increase in immigration students. International students also contribute to the country’s economy. Post the pandemic, Canada is making preparations for international students to enroll in universities to help improve and increase social and cultural diversity of campuses. Once the pandemic recedes, Canada statistics and research will determine how the pandemic had an impact on international students what is the future outlook. By Meena Atmakuri

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Canada Bans Prescription Drugs’ Mass Exports December 08, 2020 14:32

Canada has banned the export of some prescription medicines in order to prevent a shortage in the country. The decision is in response to a USA plan that will allow drugs to be imported from Canada to make them cheaper for Americans. Although prescription drug prices in Canada are higher than some nations, they are cheaper than the prices of prescription drugs in the USA. A number of Canada’s drug suppliers have warned that the plan, implemented by USA’s former president Donald Trump, would case shortages to the prescription drugs which will be sent into Canada.  The pandemic has already given the scope for increased demand for medicines according to health sources. A statement from Canada’s health ministry said the country sources 68% of its drugs from overseas and therefore it was important to avoid disruptions to supplies before and during their deliveries.  The ministry also states that companies will now also be required to provide information to assess existing or potential shortages when requested and within 24 hours immediate assistance is there is serious of imminent health risks. The former President Trump signed an executive order in July to allow legal importation of cheaper drugs from Canada with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who himself was delighted to help other actions with their supplies if possibly whilst simultaneously protecting the needs of Canadians. Drug makers have faced intense criticism from the US politicians- including the former President Trump himself as well as insurance companies and patients over the increased and high costs of new medicines and price hikes in some old generic drugs. USA’s newly elected President, Joe Biden has previously spoken of potentially importing drugs directly to the US to bring down costs.By Meena Atmakuri

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Everything about new Income Tax rules for NRI, residential status, Taxation August 29, 2020 20:31

The Indian government has relaxed the residential provision of FY 2020. During the FY 2019-20, a number of individuals holding the status of RNOR were stranded in India due to the pandemic. The COVID-19 crisis has brought a huge loss not only to the employees in the country but also to the NRI’s. A lot of non resident Indians (NRI’s) are now looking forward to heading back to their home towns. If you are also one of them, meticulous planning would be required for a hassle-free relocation. A generic concern among most of the NRI’s is the tax implications on the income earned during the year in which the NRI returns to India. The Union Budget of 2020 has reformed certain rules for determining the tax residential status of an individual in India. Here is a glimpse of the amendments which you need to take a look at. Rules to determine the residential status of NRI Residential status of an individual is determined by the period of time an individual stays in India during a financial year. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has brought forward some new amendments for the determination of residential status. If an individual satisfies any of the following two conditions he will qualify as the resident of India or would be an NR in the FY. He or she stays in India for more than 182 days of that financial year. He or she stays for more than 60 days during a FY and stays 365 days in the preceding 4 FY’s. If an Indian citizen or a person of Indian origin comes to stay in India then 60 days mentioned in the second point will be extended to 182 days. Another new RULE says that if an Indian citizen or a person of Indian origin comes for a visit to India and he/she earns more than Rs. 15 lakh during a financial year with a business set up in India, then 60 days in the second point will be replaced by 120 days. Meanwhile, if the income does not cross Rs. 15 lakh, then the 182 days rule will itself apply. Deemed residency, a new concept A new concept of deemed residency has been introduced to plug certain loopholes. An Indian citizen who earns more than Rs. 15 lakh per FY and if he is not liable to any tax to a foreign country or territory by reason of his domicile or residency, then he will be deemed to be a resident of India. A person of Indian origin whose total income exceeds Rs. 15 lakh through a profession in India and whose stay in India is more than 120 days but less than 182 days will be considered for NOR status. Relaxations in residential provisions 2020 The inability of people to travel back to India has increased due to the pandemic and this will impact their residential status in India. To avoid the hassles to such individuals, Indian government has relaxed the norms for the FY 2019-20. A relaxation was provided wherein the cut off date for considering the physical presence was brought down to 22 March 2020 instead of 31 March 2020 by excluding the lockdown phase. How the income of ROR, RNOR, and NRI will be calculated? The tax liability of the individual depends on residential status. If you are an ROR, you will be taxed in India. If you qualify as an RNOR or NR, the income only to the extent which arises in India will be taxed. An RNOR is liable to tax on income or business set up in India whereas an NR is not liable to this. By Gayatri Yellayi

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