United States has been pretty fickle and transient with its visa norms, especially when concerned with India. Right since Trump has headed the administration, the entry into States has become very rigid and difficult. Not only has he upped the bars of admission into US but also have made innumerable changes to the existing visa facilities and norms, which are impacting the Indian individuals and companies operating there.
There is the entry of another one. Reports flood in from a federal US agency, proposing $10 fee for the registration of new H1-B visas. This action is a part of the new registration process for companies wishing to apply for the temporary employment visa.
US Agency Proposes Registration Fee on H1B Visas
Well, as you may know that H-1B is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in fields of theoretical or technical expertise. The technology companies depend on it to hire multitudes of employees each year from countries like India and China.
So now, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), a US federal agency last week proposed that a registration fee of $10 must be charged on new H1-B visas, incurring offsetting costs in the process. As we mentioned above this was part of a new system, which was put on hold earlier this year and is expected to come into force for the upcoming application cycle, starting from April 1, 2020.
Once the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) puts this new system into action, it won’t consider the H-1B cap-subject petition unless it is based on a valid registration selection for the applied year.
How Stringent Shall the Procedure Be?
DHS has proposed this $10 registration fee for H-1B cap selection process. Apparently, it estimates 192,918 H-1B cap-subject registrations annually. This means that the proposed fee would generate $1,929,180 in revenue.
According to DHS:
- The petitioners seeking to file H-1B petitions among the regular cap, along with those applying for advanced degree, should first electronically register with the USCIS during a designated registration period, unless the registration requirement is suspended.
- During the time of registration, the H-1B cap-subjected petition must be based on a selected registration for that beneficiary and must be properly filed for the corresponding fiscal year.
Costs and Figures
The DHS says that it is proposing the $10 fee for submitting H-1B registrations to recover those costs. It estimates that H-1B registration will save an estimated $1.6 million annually. However, for this to happen successfully, the USCIS will have to develop the registration website, costing about $1.5 million, which it promises to be a one-time cost.
The federal government says that H-1B petitioners have shown the ability and willingness to pay significant filing fees, complying with which a $10 registration fee is something these H-1B petitioners can easily afford. They currently pay $460 filing fee per petition, along with which they may have to pay $6,000 in statutory fees.
The whole revenue isn’t kept by the USCIS.
- The US Customs and Border Protection receives 50% of the $4,000 while the remaining 50% is deposited into the General Fund of the Treasury.
- The USCIS retains 5% of the $1,500 or $750 American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act (ACWIA) fee.
- 95% of this amount goes to the Department of Labor and the National Science Foundation.