I hope you’ll read this with shared disappointment in how our State Department / US Consulates treat global citizens and in particular their mistreatment of Iranian nationals. We’re talking about valuable individuals who want to contribute to our business community and are trying to enter our country legally. If we don’t take a stand against these abuses, not only will they continue but will become more rampant and degrade our perception in the world community and diplomatic stature – at the street level where it counts.
Separately, these bureaucrats need to learn a thing or two about “customer experience” and Citizen Relationship Management!
From: David Nour
Date: December 30, 2009 6:25:30 PM EST
To: “Jennifer Whitt, PMP”
Subject: Fwd: Request for NIV appointment for an Iranian National
Jen – thank you for the offer to help. I’m outraged by the manner in which US Consulates in general, and the one in Dubai in particular a) mistreats Iranian citizens, and b) disengages from interaction with US citizens in an urgent situation. They’ve become arrogant and disengaged from the fact that they have jobs because of our tax revenues and they are in the business of supporting US citizens in international matters.
I am writing stern letters to Governor Purdue, Senators Chambliss and Isackson, as well as Congressman Lewis. As you know I also met Secretary Rice this past year – bottom line, the State Department’s policies and Consulate’s behavior are unacceptable and globally, citizens of various nationalities who wish to enter our country legally are being mistreated, abused, belittled, and outright discriminated against.
Here is a summary of what transpired today in Dubai, UAE:
- The Nour Group, Inc. has applied for and been granted an H-1B visa for an Iranian citizen to help me write my next two commercial books entitled “Escape from Oppression” and “The Immigrant Success DNA.”
- The non-immigrant visa process mandates that they attend an in-person interview to verify their credentials and the fact that they will return to their country once their work permit expires.
- There are four (4) consulates worldwide who will allow Iranian citizens to come for these interviews.
- One of those is in Dubai, UAE. Working with the immigration law firm of Siskind Susser, and per their Atlanta office Managing Partner’s email below, we had secured an appointment for BOTH the principal employee and his spouse for today, December 30th at 7:30 AM Dubai time.
- When they arrived at the security guard station just outside the embassy compound, the Principal, was turned away because he was told that he did not have an appointment.
- His spouse was allowed to enter the embassy, but when she met with a consular representative, she was asked regarding the person for whom the H-1B was approved. When she replied that it was her husband, she was handed back all of the documents we along with our law firm have prepared (over 200 pages and four separate application processes) to return to the security guard station to try to get her husband cleared to enter the compound.
- Because he was not on the appointment list – what clearly appears to be the consulate’s mistake, they left the embassy for their hotel and contacted me.
- At 12:30 AM EST (Dubai is eight and half hours ahead) I contacted the US Consulate in Dubai and through their automated system reached a live operator.
- I asked for the “non-immigrant visa section” and was told that “they do not take phone calls” and that I’d have to send them an email to which they’d reply within 2 days.
- I specifically mentioned that I’m a U.S. Citizen and that I had an urgent situation regarding an employee and a mistake in the appointment time. The operator, with a thick Indian accent reiterated that I can not speak with anyone live and I’d have to send them an email to which they’d reply within 2 days.
- The next two days are New Year’s holidays and the US Embassy in Dubai will be closed.
- UAE requires a visa of Iranian citizens and the only way to get a visa from Tehran is to go with a tour company. As such, the above mentioned employee and his spouse will have to return to Iran tonight at 12:30 AM EST (9 AM tomorrow in Dubai) and go through the entire ridiculous process all over again within the next 30 days – it simply takes that long to get back, find another tour company to return to Dubai for their interview.
- This episode has caused our small firm considerable expense in travel and legal fees, and a great deal of unnecessary stress and aggravation – simply because of the arrogance, carelessness, and lack of accountability in the administration of appointments by the US Consulate in Dubai and as mentioned earlier, their behavior is unacceptable.
- This is NOT an isolated incident and given the turbulent political conditions in Iran and the age of both our employee and his spouse, I’m concerned for their safety and candidly life. Given President Obama’s open support of the Iranian citizens, I’d expect a more professional and supportive behavior by the US Consulate staff toward Iranian citizens and US Citizens who are their “customers.”
David Nour – CEO
The Nour Group, Inc.
Begin forwarded message:
From: “Karen Weinstock”
Date: December 30, 2009 1:22:17 PM EST
To: “David Nour”
Cc: “Elena Kochutin”
Subject: FW: Request for NIV appointment for an Iranian National
I understand that you are upset about the situation but our office scheduled the appointment correctly. The embassy have messed things up entirely on their own. See below back and forth correspondence with the embassy scheduling the appointment. Unfortunately we do not have control over what goes inside the embassy, but perhaps they just didn’t add the Principal’s information to the security guards?
Karen Weinstock, Attorney at Law
Managing Attorney, Atlanta Office
Siskind Susser – Serving immigration clients throughout the world