India and the United States are set to meet on August 30, 2016, to discuss proposed changes to visa fees charged for the H-1B visa application. India comprises roughly 67% of H-1B visas and 28% of L-1 visas. Effective February 2016, certain H-1b application fees increased to $4,500. L-1 petitions fees increased to $4,500 as well for H-1b dependent employers.
Some H-1 and L-1 Visas cost $4,500 in application fees alone.
The fee increases hurt Indian tech companies expanding into America the most as they are the most likely to be H-1B dependent and require L-1 visas for their American expansion. As a result, India is preparing at challenge to the fee hike at the World Trade Organization.
The visa application fee hike is estimated to cost the Indian IT industry $400 million dollars each year.
If the rate hike does not evidence growing protectionism in the United States, then Congressional action taken to prevent Indian companies from hiring IT professionals on H-1B and L1 visas certainly does. The H-1B and L-1 Visa Reform Act of 2016 would prohibit companies from hiring H-1B employees if they are defined as H-1B Dependent. Interestingly, the two sponsors of the proposed law come from the two states in America that have the highest concentration of Indian Americans.
We at Work Visa Solutions oppose the fee hike and question the motives of the sponsors of the Bill. If America is going to reflect the diversity of the world, far more of its citizens should have Indian ancestry.