US triples H-1B, L-1 work visa fees

INTERusvisaThe US government has tripled H-1B and L-1 visa fees in what is seen as an effort to ease American fears about job losses in an election year. The move is certainly a blow to the $146 billion Indian IT services industry who are the largest users of the non-immigrant visas.

The visa is currently $2000 and an additional $4000 has been imposed on H-1B visas and $4500 on L-1A and L -1B petitions. The additional fees apply to petitioners who employ 50 or more persons in the US with over 50 percent of those being under the affected non-immigrant status.

The rise in the fees will deal Indian IT firms a blow of some $400 million and the industry will be forced to relook at the number of employees they send every year to their largest client market. This could also impact the business they do in the US and make them less competitive vis-a-vis American rivals.

One IT CEO said the increase in the visa fee is not a big concern and his company will modify its resources to mitigate the impact. Another expert said the fee hike was the writing on the wall in the long term and the Indian government should engage in proactive posturing rather than a reactive one.