Increase in US H-1B visa fees on offshore firms
United States, 10th July: The US government has announced to hike US H-1B visa fees for offshore firms in order to raise money for its additional border security requirements.
It is being felt that the new increased US visa fees will have a significant impact on Indian IT firms.
As per Som Mittal, president of NASSCOM (National Association of Software and Services Companies), the effect of the fee hike in the US visas including US L-1 visas and US H-1B visas on the Indian IT sector will be between $200 and $250 million annually.
The new additional fee was announced through the US senate’s Border Security Bill passed Thursday to raise funds worth $600 million. Senator Claire McCaskill and Senator Charles Schumer introduced the new ruling in the US Senate. The ruling received a unanimous consent.
So, the new US visa fee will be $4,500 per visa from the earlier fee of $2,500 per visa.
A large number of Indian IT giants avail nearly thousands of US H-1B visas and US L-1 visas each year enable software engineers from India to work in the US on the position of on-site techies.
Mr. Mittal said the proposed fee hike in the US H-1B and L-1 visas will result in negative effects not just for Indian companies but also for the US as well. Moreover, the new US Border Security Bill is a contradiction of the much repeated aim of the US to open and increase US exports.
The bill will lead to decrease in the number of Indian engineers moving to the US through US H-1B and L1 visas and this will have a poor effect on the technological innovation abilities of America, Mr. Mittal asserted.
The increased fees for US visas will be applicable to four Indian companies including Infosys, Satyam, Tata and Wipro.
Infosys happens to be the biggest taker of US H-1B visas for its employees each year. Expressing concern over the increased US visa fee, the company’s official spokesperson Peter McLaughlin has stated the bill as discriminatory and ill-timed especially when there is an increased requirement for opening markets to enable companies become highly competitive in the international market.