'American Embassy School Violating Visa Rules'
Even though Devyani Khobragade is back in India, the Centre isn’t letting up the pressure on “illegal” activities by US diplomatic installations, with new revelations emerging on a “visa fraud” being committed by the American embassy school.
According to sources, India was aware that the school was indulging in a “visa fraud”, with several teachers working in violation of their visa conditions and tax laws.
The New York Times on Thursday reported about a guidance handout issued for new teachers at the embassy school. These teachers are wives of the teachers already working there.
The handout reportedly instructs spouses to list their occupation on visa applications as “housewife”, instead of mentioning that they were employed with the embassy school. The report said that since India had limited the number of tax-free visas for school employees, it would like to give such visas only to either of a teaching couple. “So, if you are a teaching couple, we usually have the male spouse apply for the ‘employment’ visa and the female spouse be noted as ‘housewife’ on the application,” the handout says.
The MEA said the government was aware of the newspaper report, but added: “These are very serious issues and we will very carefully examine them.”
The embassy school was established based on a 1973 pact to enable American children and third-country nationals to study under the American system of education. As per the agreement, only 16 teachers can get the tax-free visa.
The issue of the embassy school was taken up by ambassador S Jaishankar with US Deputy Secretary of State William J Burns on Tuesday. “Deputy Secretary Burns conveyed that we take their concerns very seriously and will continue to address them via appropriate diplomatic channels,” the State Department said in a statement.
India had initiated a slew of measures following the arrest of Khobragade for visa fraud on December 12. She returned home last week after being granted full diplomatic immunity, just a few hours before being indicted by a grand jury in New York.