Saturday, August 7, 2010

Indian IT firms slam H-1B and L1 visa fee hike as discriminatory

It looks like the Indian IT Industry is running into another major problem as the U.S. government would hike visa fees under the newly introduced “Border Security Bill.” The government aims to collect $600 million by increasing fees of H-1B and L-1 visas. Indian IT firms are unhappy with this price hike and said that this raise is “discriminatory.”

The U.S. government passed the Border Security Bill on August 5, 2010.

Som Mittal, President, National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM), said that it would cost the Indian IT firms who have operations in the U.S. about $200-$250 million per year.

At present, Indian IT firms that have operations in the U.S. use approximately 50,000 H-1B and L1 visas per year. They hire Indian IT professionals to work as “on-site techies.”

Under the new rule, IT firms will have to pay $4500 per visa which was $2,500 earlier.

The big problem is that the language of the bill does not clearly specify how the fees will be increased. The visa fees are classified as filing fees and fraud fees. According to NASSCOM, it is not clear whether there is an increase of $2250 in filing fees and fraud fees or it is for both combined. Anyway, this hike will affect the Indian IT firms.

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