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Thursday, January 14, 2016

H-1B L-1 Visa Fee Increases

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services(USCIS) announced an increase in the visa processing fees for certain categories of work visas. This is applicable for certain H-1B and L-1 petitioners. Additional fee for H-1B petition is $4,000 and $4,500 for certain L-1A and L-1B petitions postmarked on or after December 18, 2015. This is according to the The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016 (Public Law 114-113).

This is applicable to those petitioners who employ 50 or more employees in US with more than 50 percent of those employees in H-1B or L-1A and L-1B nonimmigrant status.

Note this fee is in addition to the base processing fee, Fraud Prevention and Detection Fee, American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act of 1998 fee (when required), as well as the premium processing fee, if applicable.

Please refer to this article for complete details: H-1B and L-1 Visa Fee Increases 

What is the impact due to this change?

  • Significant impact to IT Services companies or companies who are in offshore, dual shore or multi shore business models with US customers. Companies will now need to shell out more money for getting the H-1B and L-1A, L-1B visas done.
  • With the visa cost going higher, this move will inspire companies to now focus on hiring more and more local talent in US. It means more job opportunities for US citizens and Green Card holders. However, if the cost of hiring local employees is higher than the cost of H-1B or L-1 workers then the margins and profitability of businesses will get adversely impacted. To break even/ maintain the margins certain companies may even choose to hike their billing rates or charges to their end customers.
  • Number of people applying for US visa in H-1B and L-1A, L-1B categories will get reduced. Individuals or companies will now be more careful in their selection or shortlisting process. Not anyone or everyone will get the visa processed as the cost will matter a lot.
  • Companies will look for options other than the US, for example, locations like Mexico, Costarica, Canada will become important. These locations may prove to be better options for near shore operations with almost the same time zone as the US.
  • Last but not the least this may also impact the individuals who apply through consulting companies or IT service companies because companies may now ask for commitments like extended bond period or additional bond amount etc.

So if you are a H-1B or L-1A, L-1B aspirant then you may want to take this important change and the associated impact into account before planning your career move.

If you read this post, you will love to read the following interesting posts:

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