US plans to talk to India about H-1B and L-1 visa fee hikes

The US has planned to hold a discussion with India in April over the recent H-1B and visa fee increase. According to the Indian media statement, it mainly disturbs the Indian owned companies in the US. The US has agreed discussions following India’s complaint against its move to raise visa fees for non-immigrant workers at the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Indian Government, Ministry of Commerce is functioning with a set of legal mentors to validate that the visa rules victimize Indian IT organizations working in the US. “We want the US to see our point of view at the consultation stage itself and revoke the visa fee hike, but this is unlikely to happen. We have to be ready to fight a case at the dispute panel. Our legal team is trying to prove violation of WTO rules on both de facto (in effect) and de jure (by law) basis,” the Commerce Ministry official said.

According to Nasscom Assessment:

The change would affect losses estimated at $400 million for Indian IT firms. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said: “The MEA is intense to settle the matter during the WTO consultation process as it does not want yet another problematical situation with the US on trade and economic matters.”

This will be a challenging case for India to argue at the WTO as the legislation is applicable on all companies and doesn’t explicitly target Indian companies. Official said: “Our legal team has to prove that discrimination is taking place by providing data which shows that it is only Indian companies that are getting affected because of the increased visa fees and not the American companies”. The US has suggested April 5-6 as probable dates for consultations. We look at the readiness of our officials around that time and respond accordingly.

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