What You Need to Know About the Hike in H-1B Visa Costs
By: Rachel Horner
The Actual Numbers
Starting in October, the basic H-1B Visa fee will increase from $460 to $550 — a 21% increase. The H-1B visa is one of many visa categories that will see a change in price. The proposal put forth in November of 2019 states that there will be different fees for form I-129, depending on which visa category is used.
The proposal will also directly affect “50/50” employers (employers who have 50% of their workforce on the H-1B or L -1 Visa.) For these employers, the extension fee will double in price — specifically $4,000 for an extension of an H-1B visa (previously $2,000), or $4,500 (previously $2,250) for an L visa.
Why the Increase?
After a back-and-forth with the Trump Administration, The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) was not met with their desired budget. In addition, the coronavirus pandemic has significantly slowed down immigration case processing, one of their main sources of revenue. Already worried about the threat of furloughs for their employees, USCIS has increased fees from foreign workers and immigrants in an attempt to raise the money they are severely lacking this year. USCIS will see roughly $200 million come in from these heightened fees.
What does this mean for Business?
While the new fees will help funnel more money into USCIS, many have voiced concerns over the increase in price.
Tech companies will be one of the hardest-hit businesses because a significant portion of them apply to the 50/50 rule. NASSCOM president Debjani Ghos stated “USCIS clearly lacks the authority to expand the applicability of the 50-50 fees, and the changes proposed to L-1 and Premium Processing fees are unjustified and could harm the [American] economy…none of these proposed changes should go forward.”
However, it’s not only Tech companies who feel the move is unjust.
In a piece reported by the Economic Times, the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and the American Immigration Council (AIC) had jointly asked the US government to withdraw the proposal, saying it would hurt U.S. businesses.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce also added to the conversation, stating that “Many companies . . . consider this proposal as imposing increased costs on them for, at best, the same suboptimal services they currently receive from USCIS.”
For an already complex immigration visa process, where nearly 300,000 Indian nationals are waiting on their green card and face a 10-year waiting period, the prospect of more expenses seems to loom on the horizon. Even though the new regulation has the potential to be subject for litigation, affecting its enforcement, immigration processes continue to be caught in the crossfires of our political and economic climate.
As an operations analyst and proofreader at Park Evaluations, Rachel Horner reviews and edits evaluations for consistency and coherency, and ensures quality content is produced for the clients. During her free time, she likes to ride her bike and spend time with her shih-tzu, Callie.