US raises fees for nonimmigrant visas; move to impact Indian IT companies

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The US Department of Homeland Security on Friday approved a fee hike for nonimmigrant visas beginning in October this year.

According to the document viewed in the US Government’s Federal Register, DHS has adjusted the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) fee by a weighted average increase of 20%, adding new fees for some applications immigration benefits and establishing multiple fees for non-immigrant worker petitions. It comes after USCIS, which administers the country’s naturalization and immigration system, appealed to Congress for a $1.2 billion bailout amid the Covid-19 pandemic, which has severely affected green card renewals and immigration processing.

In its official statement, USCIS said, “As required by federal law, USCIS has conducted a comprehensive biennial fee review and has determined that current fees do not cover the cost of providing medical services. arbitration and naturalization. DHS is adjusting USCIS fees by a weighted average increase of 20% to help recover its operational costs. Current fees would leave the agency underfunded by about $1 billion a year.

The application fee for highly qualified H-1B visas has been increased by 21% to $555, while those for L (intra-corporate transfer) visas have been increased by 75% to $850. The fee increase proposal was presented in November of last year. The Indian computer industry lobby, the National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom) and some US immigration-friendly organizations opposed the move at the time.

This decision is expected to have a financial impact on Indian IT companies who are the main beneficiaries of these non-immigrant work visas. L-1 visas are issued for intra-company transfers. For example, if an Infosys executive moves from India to the company’s offices in the United States, they will be issued with an L-1 visa. However, if the same executive travels to the United States to work for a client, he or she will be issued an H-1B visa.

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