US H-1B and L-1 visa doubling of visa fees controversial

The much reported visa fee increases for both the H-1B visa (from $2,000 to $4,000) and the L-1 visa (from $2,250 to $4,500) have unsurprisingly caused some ripples between Indian and US official bodies. This visa fee increase applies to Companies that have more than 50 employees more than 50% of which are H-1B visa employees. This affects mainly Indian owned companies in the US. These hikes (see workPermit’s previous article about this issue), will provide funds for 9/11 first responders and provide funding for a biometric entry and exit system. The new visa fee increase was agreed by Republicans and Democrats as a compromise to allow the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2016 to be passed so preventing an US Government “shutdown”.

Indian Prime Minister Modl intervenes but it makes little difference

As reported by The Times of India, US President Barack Obama had telephoned the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the 16 December of last year to thank Modi for his “positive” and “critical” role in regard to the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris. Modi took the opportunity to voice his concern about the proposed visa fee increases and support his country’s IT sector. However, the Prime Minister’s intervention made little difference and the bill resulting in a doubling of many H-1B and L-1 visa applications was passed into law on 19 December 2015.

Affected Indian IT firms likely to pass on the additional charges to customers

Influential Indian industrialist N. R. Narayana Murthy, co-founder of Infosys, believes that the doubled visa costs will not be an especially troubling issue. He is quoted as saying, “I don’t think it is an issue at all, $2,000 or $4,000 that doesn’t matter. The important thing is that you have to provide excellent value to customers,” (mentioned in The Economic Times). Another leading industry figure, Sanchit Gogia, expects the affected Indian IT companies will simply soak up the additional charges by increasing fees to their clients.

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