IT Firms Slap Rs 2500 Cr Lawsuit Against US Govt Over H1B Visa Fees
Many foreign nationals as well as Indian and US companies have been suffering due to the ever changing regulations of the H1-B visas. The US under Trump’s administration has tightened the rules involving H1-B visas, and made it difficult for IT firms to hire new employees, using H1B Visa.
Now, these companies have decided to fight back.
As per reports coming in, USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) has been slapped with a Rs 2500 crore ($350 million) lawsuit by technology companies.
How did this happen? And how will the US Govt respond now?
Keep reading to find out more!
US Tech Firms Sue US Govt Over H1B Visa Fees Hike
The U.S. Tech firms on January 26,2020 have jointly filed a class action lawsuit against the US Govt agency issuing visas to foreign nationals for seeking a reimbursement of $350 million (Rs 2500 crore approx.) that they claim excess fee charged for H-1B visas.
The complaint filed on Sunday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia reads, “Defendant has unlawfully charged United States companies approximately $350 million dollars in visa fees over the past six years.”
According to the complaint, the USCIS illegally charged $2000 and now $4000 to the ‘50/50’ companies (companies with at least 50 employees and 50% of their workforce in H-1B or L status) at the port of entry. The petition also asserts that the ‘fee’ should only be imposed on initial visa applications, and not for a change of status to H1-B as in case of international student changing his/her status or when the employee is already working in the United States.
Will US Govt Return The Excess H1B Visa Fees?
The lawsuit revolves around the interpretation of the wording ‘application for admission’ in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
The text of the (INA) states: “The term ‘application for admission’ has reference to the application for admission into the United States and not to the application for the issuance of an immigrant or nonimmigrant visa.”
The INA defines the terms ‘admission’ and ‘admitted’; with respect to an alien, the lawful entry of the alien into the United States after inspection and authorization by an immigration officer.
Erin Green, managing attorney, EEG Immigration Law Group said, “Normally, when the USCIS receives incorrect fees, the case is not denied. Instead, the application is sent back to the company with an explanation that the proper fees were not submitted, at which point the company can re-submit with the correct fees.”
If won many U.S. technology businesses can stand a golden opportunity of getting a refund of a significant amount for the first time from the USCIS.
How will this lawsuit affect Indian Nationals?
“These companies have presence in India and it is understood that they have been hiring foreign workers, mostly from India, on behalf of small and mid-tier tech firms in U.S.,” said a California-based legal professional.
Many of the Indian nationals have gone to the States with H1-B visa putting them in the category of highly skilled and high earning individuals, are applying and some waiting for a green card as of now. According to reports, maximum Indian nationals in line for the green card are unlikely to be affected.
What is H1-B Visa?
H1-B Visa is a nonimmigrant Visa which allows the U.S. employers to employ foreign nationals in specialty occupations in the United States of America for a designated period of time.