Despite opposition from India, the U.S. Congress has officially imposed a new fee that will apply to certain categories of H-1B visas and L-1 visas. Congress has enacted this new fee in order to more effectively fund spending $1.1 trillion on a 9/11 health care act and biometric tracking system. The fees may range as high as $4,000.00 for certain H-1B visas and $4,500.00 for certain L-1 visas.
How New Funds Will Be Allocated
The U.S. government estimates that these new measures will generate more than one billion dollars annually. The capital generated by these new fees will be put towards funding for a new biometric entry and exit tracking system, as well as helping to fund health screenings/treatments for first responders to 9/11.
What Companies Will Be Affected Most?
The fees outlined in this new congressional measure will apply to any and all companies who have at least 50 employees, with 50 percent of employees in non-immigrant status potentially utilizing the H-1B or L-1 visa. Companies who satisfy these guidelines will be required to pay the new $4,000 and $4,500 visa fees. Although the provisions of this legislation has no specific mention of Indian IT companies, the language used within the bill will have the biggest impact on large, Indian IT companies.
Changes From Previous Provisions
U.S. lawmakers have designated the new provisions as, “temporary.” The increased fee structure is set to be in place for a period of ten years, up from the previously designated period of five years. The previous H-1B visa provision was in effect from 2010-2015 and required $2,000.00 per visa. An independent study released from NASSCOM stated that Indian IT companies have been previously paying between $70-$80 million to the United States Treasury (annually).
The new fee structure will raise the amount paid by these companies to an estimated $1.4-1.6 billion, annually. The specific language used within the new U.S. provision outlines that after $1 billion has been deposited into the 9/11 first responders and Biometrics programs, then the remaining sum would be deposited into the general fund of the U.S. Treasury.
Commentary From Prime Minister Modi
A notable individual who has been involved in the discourse between the U.S. and India is Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Prime Minister has voiced concerns over the increased fee structure personally to President Barack Obama. Although the White House did express concerns over the significant increase, their concerns were ignored by the Republican-majority Congress. Many notable Republican officials were major driving forces behind the decision to enact the new 2017 H-1B visa and L-1 visa fee increase.
The Importance of Professional Legal Assistance
The dust has not yet settled over the increase in visa fees that will have to be paid by many Indian IT companies. Although the decision is being contested, companies must prepare for the new fee structure by enlisting professional legal assistance. Now that the fee per visa has been dramatically increased, companies cannot afford to have poor legal execution. Companies pursuing H-1B and L-1 visas will want to ensure that any filings they pursue are completely error-free, so that the company does not have to allocate additional resources for re-filing.
Contact KPPB Law For Professional Legal Assistance
Companies who need assistance managing H-1B and L-1 visas for key personnel can contact KPPB Law for assistance. Our immigration attorneys have managed thousands of visa cases and have over a decade of experience in the field. To learn more about how we can benefit your company or organization, call our office directly or contact KPPB Law online today.
Beeraj Patel, Esq.
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