The US government has hiked the H-1B and L visa fees by 21 per cent and 75 per cent.
The DHS approved a final rule on July 31, per which employers filing visa petitions will now pay $555 fee (21 percent increase) for H-1B high-skill visas and $850 (75 percent increase) for L (intra-company transfer) visas, Media Reported.
The rule change, first proposed in November 2019, is meant to “align visa fees with the time agency offices spend adjudicating petitions and applications.”
It will be published in the Federal Register on August 3 and as practise will become effective 60 days after publication, the report said.
“USCIS is required to examine incoming and outgoing expenditures and make adjustments based on that analysis … These overdue adjustments in fees are necessary to efficiently and fairly administer our nation’s lawful immigration system, secure the homeland and protect Americans,” Joseph Edlow, acting head at USCIS told the paper.
The development comes even as the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) appealed to the Congress for emergency funds of $1.2 billion as earnings from visa processing dropped due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The impact on Indian IT and service firms is expected to be huge, as many of these companies hired 50 percent employees on H-1B or L-1 visas.
They’ll now pay additional $4,000-4,500 for each visa extension, it added.As such, industry body NASSCOM has filed their protest with the DHS, terming the move “illegal.
” Pro-immigration bodies such as the American Immigration Council (AIC) and the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) have also filed comments opposing the move as one that would “hurt US businesses.”