Call it the Trump effect if you may, but it’s true that visa sanctions have dropped for Pakistanis and increased for Indians. The official data released for March-April 2017 reveals that the number of US visas issued to Pakistanis has dropped by 40%, whereas in case of India, it has increased by 28%. The drop and increase is in comparison to the figures in the year-ago period. Monthly figures were not available prior to March 2017, and only annual figures were made available by the US State Department. However, comparisons can still be done using averages, which for 2016 was 6,553 visas issued to Pakistanis. In March-April 2017, the average is 40% less than the figures in the year-ago period.
On the other hand, US visas granted to Indians have increased by 28% in March-April 2017, as compared to the year ago period. Last year’s average was 72,082 visas, and in March and April 2017, it was 97,925 and 87,049 respectively, which translates into an overall increase of 28%. Explaining the potential causes of the ups and downs of US visas, a spokesperson form the State Department said, “Visa demand is cyclical, not uniform throughout the year and affected by various factors at the local and international level. Visa issuance numbers tend to increase during peak travel seasons, such as during the summer and the winter holidays, though there may be different trends at the country, nationality, or visa-category level”.