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Exclusive: Nishith Desai’s 10-year US visa revoked at immigration in ‘shocking incident’

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Nishith Desai Associates managing partner Nishith Desai was turned away by US immigration last week in Canada and had his business visa cancelled, because he would require an employment visa when meeting clients in the US.

Desai explained in a statement to Legally India that the US immigration officer in Vancouver held him up for over two-and-a-half hours at Vancouver airport on Thursday 7 October. According to Desai, the official denied him entry to the US and cancelled his 10-year B1 (Business) visa on the ground that providing even brief consulting as an independent lawyer to an American client was tantamount to employment in the US and was a violation of the law.

Desai said he had told the immigration official that he was travelling to the US to attend some functions and meet some of his clients for a few hours. Between January 2010 to October 7 he had been in the US only three times and only for about 18 days, noted Desai.

After having been refused entry, Desai then purchased new tickets and returned to India on Sunday.

When contacted by Legally India, Desai said: “The US government has been made aware of the situation at the highest level and I am hopeful this will be resolved to the satisfaction of all parties.”

Nishith Desai Associates has an office in California’s Silicon Valley, in Palo Alto.

Society of Indian Law Firms (SILF) chairman Lalit Bhasin had sent an email to a distribution list of lawyers on Saturday 9 October, with a subject of “SHOCKING INCIDENT”.

In the email Bhasin set out the above facts and concluded: “Our colleagues are forewarned about similar consequences. We have to agitate this matter with U.S. authorities and Government of India. On the eve of President Obama’s visit this ugly development would certainly be a set back for better relations between the two countries and the two professions.”

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