Travel Trade Journal
Biden administration proposes massive hike in immigration fees including H-1B visas
The application fees for employment-based visas, such as H1-B and L, are set to increase under a proposed US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) rule.
As per reports, the Biden administration has proposed a massive hike in immigration fees, including the much sought-after H-1B visas for high-skilled foreign workers, which is very popular among Indian tech professionals.
Under the proposed rule, published by the USCIS, the application for the H-1B visa increases from $460 to $780, and L-1 from $460 to $1,385. The application fee for O-1 visas has been proposed to increase from $460 to $1,055. The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. Technology companies depend on it to hire tens of thousands of employees each year from countries like India and China.
In its federal notification, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said that USCIS is primarily funded by fees charged to applicants and petitioners for immigration and naturalisation benefit requests. These fee collections fund the cost of fairly and efficiently adjudicating immigration benefit requests, including those provided without charge to refugees, asylum, and certain other applicants or petitioners, it argued.
The proposed rule went on a 60-day public opposition period, following which it is expected to be enforced. Under the proposed rule, the fee for the H-2B petitions (for seasonal, non-agricultural workers) is proposed to increase from $460 to $1,080.
The USCIS said the new fees would allow the immigration agency to more fully recover its operating costs, re-establish and maintain timely case processing, and prevent the accumulation of future case backlogs. The agency receives approximately 96 per cent of its funding from filing fees, not from congressional appropriations.
The proposed fee rule is the result of a comprehensive fee review at the USCIS. That review determined that the agency’s current fees, which have remained unchanged since 2016, fall far short of recovering the full cost of agency operations.
“This proposed rule allows the USCIS to more fully recover operating costs for the first time in six years and will support the administration’s effort to rebuild the legal immigration system. In addition to improving customer service operations and managing the incoming workload, the USCIS must continue to fulfil our growing humanitarian mission, upholding fairness, integrity, and respect for all we serve,” said Ur M. Jaddou, Director, USCIS.