Coming in the footsteps of the current USA government banning H1B visa processing till the end of the year, here is another blow giving news announced by the government. The government of the day has jacked up the prices of two visas most popular with Indians: H1B and L1. It was announced by The Department of Homeland Security, under which US Citizenship and Immigration Services comes very recently in early August.
- The H1B visa application fees have been hiked by 21% and now come at USD 460 per application.
- The L1 visa application fees have been hiked by 85% and now come at USD 850 per application.
- These new application fees come into effect from October 2020.
- IT firms employing over 50 people, and whose more than 50% of employees are working on an H1B visa, they will need to pay an extra U$ 4000 per visa extension.
The reason for the increase in the fees is said to be pure economics. As the federal government has put a stop on all work visas as well as green card applications, there has been a reduction in those applying to US Citizenship and Immigration Services for visa processing. Since they have no other source of funding, they are being left high and dry. Hence in order to save themselves from further financial loss, they have increased the visa fees for these two categories.
In its statement, USCIS said, “As required by federal law, USCIS conducted a comprehensive biennial fee review and determined that current fees do not recover the cost of providing adjudication and naturalization services. 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 per year.”
This move will majorly impact companies (both Indian and non-Indian) who employ thousands of Indians and send them across to the USA to work in their local offices. Already the scenario thanks to Covid-19 was tough for all businesses, now with this price hike, it will further pinch. What impact will it have on companies and those seeking to go abroad only time will tell? A reduction in applications and the hiring of Native Americans seems to be the only outcome unless the local government has a change of heart.
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