H-1B visas could become more costly if the United States approves the proposed Budget reconciliation Bill regarding H-1B filing fees in its current form.
The Bill has proposed to include a supplementary $500 charge for every H-1B visa petition.
Organizations – mostly tech and IT services providers – use H1-B visas to get highly skilled workers into the United States.
The Bill also proposes extra fees for serval immigration-related petitions.
These include $800 for employer-sponsored permanent residency and $250 for an F-1, or student visa, to be paid by the educational institute.
It also proposes another supplementary $500 charge for employment authorization forms for certain non-immigrants. Students looking for optional practical training, and candidates for adjustment of status.
The proposed increase in H-1B filing fees reflects another stab at the already harmed H-1B process, said Rajiv S Khanna, managing lawyer at immigration.com.
“It can cost as much as $30,000 in attorney fees, filing fees, and responding to requests for proof each time you file an H-1B or an extension. With over 1,000,000 jobs vacant in the computer technology industry alone. It is unseemly that instead of making it simpler, Congress is making it more difficult,” he said.
US Bill could increase H-1B filing fees
Small businesses would be impacted more by this change, he added.
As of now, organizations pay $460 for the basic application, with an extra lawyer, anti-fraud, and scholarship fees.
For managers that have an enormous extent of H-1B and L-1 visa holders, there is an extra $4,000 expense. Just like $2,500 for premium handling of the appeal, which most organizations choose.
“Employers will pay these high fees for a skilled foreign worker. And this belies the myth that employers need H-1B workers since they are cheap labor”. Said Cyrus D Mehta, managing partner, Cyrus D Mehta, and Partners.
If the US House of Representatives clears the Bill, it would, however, expedite the path to permanent residency. For serval thousand Indian nationals who are in line for a green card.
These measures, if passed, could be among the most significant immigration changes made by the US administration in recent years.
“The chances of the House bill becoming law depend on whether the parliamentarian accepts or rejects the immigration provisions in the reconciliation bill. If the parliamentarian is ignored, then opponents would require 60 votes to get the immigration provisions stripped out. Yet, if this angers a centrist Democrat such as Joseph Manchin or Kyrsten Synema, they can withhold their vote from the final bill. So, unless the parliamentarian accepts the immigration provisions, the likelihood of them passing and becoming law are low,” Mehta added.
Proponents of legal immigration say this move could assist deal with the talent shortage in the country. By making it simpler for highly skilled workers to become residents and not be dependent on visas to continue working in the country. It also gives stability to spouses and different dependents. A lack of which has been one factor why certain individuals have chosen to leave the United States.