US hikes H-1B and L-1 visa fees

The visa fee increases for an H-1B visa and the L-1 visa. This visa fee increase has caused friction between India and the US expectedly. Recent report says that Indian IT firms have decided to increase the client and the processing fees more which will soften the blow of increased costs due to fees being doubled for US H-1B and L-1 visas.
Under the new law, employers that employ 50 or more employees in the United States, and where more than 50% of such employees are working under H-1B or L-1 status, will be required to pay an additional filing fee of:

  • $4,000 for H-1B petitions (including H-1B extensions), and
  • $4,500 for L-1 petitions (including L-1 extensions).

One of the largest Indian IT outsourcing companies in India, TCS, said that it’s likely to record a 10 per cent increase in profitability in its December quarter, while Infosys is expected to report a 3 percent rise in profits, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Nasscom and Economic Time says:

According to Indian IT body Nasscom, this is expected to have an impact of about $400 million annually on India’s technology sector. Indian technology industry paid $22.5 billion in taxes during the financial years 2011-15, besides investing $2 billion in FY 2011-13 in the US as well as supported 4,11,000 jobs in FY2015 directly or indirectly, according to a Nasscom report.

R Chandrasekhar, president of Nasscom, described the fees as ‘unjustified’, and said that they are designed to target Indian IT companies ‘disproportionately.’ “US immigration reform is something that has to occur sooner or later,” Chandrasekhar added.

The Economic Times quoted him as saying: “I don’t think it is an issue at all, $2,000 or $4,000 that doesn’t matter. The important thing is that you have to provide excellent value to customers.” While another leading industry figure, Sanchit Gogia, expects that the affected Indian IT companies will simply pass on the extra charges to their clients.

However, several commentators have stated that the increased H-1B and L-1 visa fees aren’t of great concern. Indian industrialist N. R. Narayana Murthy, co-founder of Infosys, believes that the doubled visa costs will not be a particularly troubling issue.

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