Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev., introduced a bill intended to speed up the wait times for a tourist visa, which can take more than four months for approval, especially for applicants in China and Brazil.
“Visitors from these rapidly developing countries are consumers who shop like it’s Black Friday, but because their wait time for a visa has become intolerably long, they’re taking their money elsewhere,” said David French, NRF senior vice president for government relations.
According to an article by the National Retail Federation, Heck said he wants the bill because with a shorter wait time — no more than 12 days — people will be more inclined to come and shop in the United States and retailers can more easily bring over employees for training.
A recent study found that speeding up the visa process could add 1.3 million more jobs and boost the economy by $859 billion by 2020.
The ripple effect of retail throughout the entire economy is huge — hotels, restaurants, rental cars, plane trips — it touches everything.
The U.S. dollar is weak, so it makes sense that wealthy residents of China, Brazil and India would want to come to the U.S. and shop. Retail worldwide is a $3 trillion-a-year business; it’s huge. The U.S. government is finally realizing its benefit and saying, “Yes, let’s get these people in here.”
Source: NRF, September 2011