Kolkata, Apr 2: The brain drain from India to developed Western countries has been witnessing a reversal of sorts over the past few years with many Indian immigrants now returning to take advantage of the growing opportunities in their own country.
Talking to mediapersons here today after inaugurating a new American Citizens Services (ACS) section at the US Consulate, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Evan A Feigenbaum said, ''In 2007, 55 per cent of the US passports issued in Kolkata were for minor children born in the US to Indian nationals living temporarily in the US.'' He added that the number of US citizens visiting Eastern India had grown at an estimated 20 per cent over the last two years. He also claimed that many Indian citizens who had gone to the US to work or study were now returning to take advantage of the growing opportunities in Eastern India. ''The demand for visa services continues to grow dramatically as tourism, trade, scholarly exchange and business cooperation expand between the US and India,'' Mr Feigenbaum said.
Altogether, 27,832 visa applications were processed by the visa section in Kolkata which was expected to increase to 32,007 this year.
Of the total issuances, 53 per cent were Business/Tourist visas, 20 per cent Temporary Workers, eight per cent students, 12 per cent Dependents of Students/Workers and seven per cent others.
Stressing on the growing bilateral relations between the US and India, US Consul General in Kolkata Henry Jardine informed that the total number of Indian students in the US was above 80,000, comprising the highest number among all the foreign students in that country.
He also said there were over three million Indian Americans and an additional 0.5 million visas were being issued to Indians every year.