Thursday, December 31, 2015

H-1B Visa Fee Increase Allegedly ‘Highly Discriminatory’

Newley Purnell in the Wall Street Journal blog reports that an Indian industry group has slammed Congress's decision to raise visa fees for skilled migrant workers on H-1B and L-1 permits, calling the move “highly discriminatory and punitive” toward outsourcing firms. The New Delhi-based Confederation of Indian Industry said in a statement that the United States should reconsider the measure, part of the $1.15 trillion spending bill passed by U.S. House of Representatives earlier this month, that doubles the application and renewal fees incurred by firms wanting to obtain the visas for workers from overseas.

Companies in the U.S. that employ more than 50 people and have more than half of their staff on H-1B or L-1 visas will be affected, with fees for H-1Bs rising from $2,000 to $4,000 and L-1 fees jumping from $2,250 to $4,500 for each application. 

H-1B visas are for skilled workers, and L-1s are for those with specialized knowledge who are transferred to the U.S. within their company. The permits have drawn attention in recent months in the United States with both Republican and Democratic lawmakers having accused firms of using them to bring in cheap noncitizen labor that costs American jobs.


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