H-1B Visa Fee Set to Surge by 70%, Posing Challenges for Indian Applicants

The cherished American Dream for many Indians seeking the H-1B visa faces a potential setback as a proposal to increase fees for this sought-after visa category awaits publication after clearing the White House review. According to a Bloomberg Law report, the proposed overhaul of immigration fees, covering both temporary and permanent work visas, includes a substantial 70% hike in fees for the H-1B visa.

The draft rule, released by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services last year, outlines a 40% increase in registration fees for H-1B specialty occupation visas, amounting to $215 (Rs 18,000). Additionally, the proposal suggests raising fees for sponsors filing H-1B visa applications, with the E-registration costs for the annual H-1B cap lottery potentially soaring from $10 to $215. Selected beneficiaries could face a steep 70% increase in application fees, amounting to $780 (Rs 65,000).

The H-1B visa, designed for US employers seeking skilled foreign workers in specialty occupations, has an annual cap, with the USCIS limiting the quota for 2024 to 65,000 and an additional 20,000 for those with a master’s degree or higher. Indian tech professionals have historically been significant beneficiaries of the H-1B program, enabling American tech companies to hire skilled workers at a comparatively lower cost.

While the H-1B visa offers advantages such as spousal work authorization, its dependency on employment status poses a significant disadvantage. If a visa holder loses their job, they have just 60 days to find new employment, or they must leave the country. The proposed fee hike could potentially impact the hiring landscape for foreign skilled workers, making it more expensive for US companies and potentially leading them to prefer hiring US citizens over immigrants.


Source: MSN