Washington: Flagship Indian IT companies would have to pay at least an additional USD 4,000 for every H-1B visa application under the new regulations that came into effect last December, according to details published on May 27 by a federal US agency. And those applying for L-1 visa petitions would have to pay USD 4,500 more than other US companies under the new law, which would be in effect till September 30, 2025.
The H-1B visa is designed to allow US employers to recruit and employ foreign professionals in speciality occupations within the US while L-1 visas are available to employees of an international company with offices in both the US and abroad.
Indian IT firms - which have to incur an additional burden of about USD 400 million annually - have called it "discriminatory", with Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself raising this at the highest level. US federal Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) posted the details of the increased fee on its website on May 27.
For H-1B petitioners, one "must pay the additional USD 4,000 fee" if the company employs 50 or more employees in the US and more than half of those are in H-1B, L-1A, or L-1B nonimmigrant status.
The figure increases to USD 4,500 for those applying for L-1 visas. The USCIS said the additional fees needs to be a paid in a separate cheque payable to the Department of Homeland Security. The federal agency also laid the parameters for counting the number of employees of the company.
"We will count all of your full-time and part-time employees when determining whether you must pay this fee. Employees of related entities will not count," USCIS said.
"When calculating the percentage of your employees in H-1B or L-1 status, we will calculate based on the number of employees you have in the United States, regardless of whether they are paid through a US or foreign payroll," USCIS said....