Punjab, Gujarat Top Visa Fraud List: WikiLeaks

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JALANDHAR – WikiLeaks has revealed that US immigration officials had documented visa fraud, with applicants from Punjab and Gujarat topping the list.

The latest released cables disclose that such persons had applied under the garb of religious preachers from India. And the US immigration officials were keeping an eagle eye on them and conducting ground investigations in India.

This cable, which originated from Chennai consulate on October 13, 2009, held that Punjab and Gujarat figure majorly in fraudulent applications. “Some states, such as Gujarat and Punjab, are traditional sources of migration from India and fraudulent applications from these areas are more common than other regions. Andhra Pradesh, in particular its capital Hyderabad, has been identified as a large centre of documentary fraud,” the cable said.

A separate cable sent from Kolkata consulate on February 26, 2008, exclusively delved into the issue under the title ‘Religious worker visa fraud: Monks, priests, nuns and the people who impersonate them’, while discussing the trend.

The Kolkata cable reflected that US officials detected that a majority of the so called religious preachers seeking to obtainR-1 religious worker visas were fraudulent. “Nearly 60% of all applicants seeking R-1 religious worker visas in 2007 were refused.”

It noted that among Sikh “priests” seeking R-1 visas, 90% of the applicants were denied the same. In almost every case, applicants had no claim to residency within consular district. “These applicants usually came in pairs of three and had no connection or assistance from the US,” the cable noted, while mentioning various loopholes in such applications that included spelling mistakes or unfolded invitation letters allegedly received from the US.

The Chennai consulate cable also pointed out the fraud in the garb of Sikh preachers. “Mumbai and Kolkata cables noted that Sikhs and Tibetan monks had the highest percentage of confirmed fraud during this period.”