H-1B visa fees: To deal with the global visa processing backlog and improve immigration operations, the United States may raise fees for specific visa categories.
If the move is approved, it is likely to raise H-1B visa filing fees significantly, affecting Indian and American technology companies.
On Tuesday, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM). That proposes increasing the pre-registration costs for H-1B visas from $10 to $215.
Additionally, petition fees would rise by 70%, and L1 visa fees for intra-company transfers would increase by 201 percent.
Employers who file Forms I-129 and I-140 would also have to pay an “Asylum Program Fee” of $600, which would significantly raise the cost of their visas.
The I-140 is for an employer-sponsored green card. while the I-129 is for non-immigrant employment petitions like the H-1B.
Employees who have been in the country on an H-1B visa for six years or more are frequently granted residency permits by technology companies.
Indian nationals receive most of these visas, accounting for approximately 70% of H-1B visas. And 50% of annual permanent residence permits are issued yearly.
US may increase H-1B visa fees to fund immigration agency
Poorvi Chothani, the managing partner at immigration law firm LawQuest, stated. This new fee rule will no doubt create an additional financial burden for employers. Especially because the fee is likely to increase sharply. She added, “If the increase is implemented before the H-1B CAP filing season for FY24 then it will also affect the upcoming CAP filings.”
However, this seems unlikely given the time taken for the federal review process.
“Compared to the demand for technical labor in a large economy like the United States. The annual limit of 85,000 new H-1B petitions for businesses is extremely low. “We should still expect many more H-1B registrations submitted for new H-1B professionals than the current limits of 85,000″. Said Stuart Anderson, executive director of the National Foundation for American Policy, an immigration think-tank.
In a statement, USCIS stated that the new fees would allow it to recover its operating costs more fully. Reestablish and maintain timely case processing, and prevent the accumulation of case backlogs in the future.
Due to a decrease in visa filings during the COVID-19 pandemic. USCIS receives approximately 96% of its funding from filing fees.
Indian applicants, who currently face waiting times of approximately 1,000 days for an appointment for a B1/B2 tourist visa, would benefit from this.
USCIS director Ur Jaddou stated, “USCIS must continue to fulfill our growing humanitarian mission, upholding fairness, integrity, and respect for all we serve.” This is in addition to improving customer service operations and managing the incoming workload.
This proposed rule will support the (Joe Biden) Government’s effort to rebuild the legal immigration system. Also, allows USCIS to fully recover operating costs for the first time in six years.
A final rule for the proposal may be published after a 60-day public consultation period.