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H-1B, L-1 Visa Fee Increase Issue Not On Agenda of Modi During June US Visit

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Here’s a not-too-positive new report from the Indian perspectives!  The chances of the Modi Government engaging the US in a discussion--on the issue of H-1B and L-1 Visa charge increases, while the Indian PM visits the in June--are not very high.

The reason: a dialogue with the Obama government over fee increases for the impermanent, non-immigrant US Work Visas is not a part of the programme. For those not tuned in, the Indian PM is due in the US capital, on a planned trip, to duly address a joint meeting of the US Congress and Senate.

During the month of March, the Modi administration registered a complaint with the apex world body, the World Trade Organization (WTO), against the US for hiking L-1 Visa costs to 4,500 and H-1B visa costs to 4,000 dollars.

The extra charges apply to the firms that utilizes 50 or more workers in the US, where more than half or 50% of the personnel are on the H-1B or L-1 (and this comprises the L-1A and the L-1B visas) non-immigrant visa standing.
 
It mostly impacts the Indian owned firms in the US. New Delhi lodged the complaint requesting discussions with the Washington DC, to talk about the subject inside 60 days. The 60-day deadline has since passed, with the nations hardly any closer to deciding the matter.

While the passing of the 60-day deadline denotes that India presently has the right to request the WTO to establish a panel to carry-out further proceedings, doing so (establishing the panel) will take the world body an added 45 days. Reportedly, members of the panel will scrutinize the case only to present its findings to the parties inside six months for more action.

Critical Observations

As per some observers, the H-1B Visa stream has been rather contentious in the US. Some critics have alleged that the visa has been often utilized to usher-in cheap workers from India to the US.  Even as at certain times there could be exploitations of the system, the fact remains that salary rates for the H-1B Visa holders are exceedingly regulated. One has to give the current salary.

Indian L-1 & H-1B Visa employees tend to be extremely paid professional level persons. In today’s modern economy, one requires to usher-in workers from abroad into the nation. It is not at all times doable to predict demand for a specific skill in advance.

Allegedly, it is also the case that there will be higher availability of individuals with certain preferred skills in some particular nations. The US immigration organization requires being able to make the movement of these kind of trained personnel possible.

Extra Visa Fees Charges Could be As High as 400 Million Dollars, Asserts Nasscom

As per Nasscom--the well-known trade group which represents Indian IT firm—the IT groups with Indian roots could end up paying an added US 400 million dollars per annum in visa charges. The total cost to the Indian IT business, including the visa fee increase, is projected to be from 1.4 billion to 1.6 billion dollars every year for the coming decade.

Before India's decision to lodge a complaint with the WTO in March this year, letters were sent across to the US Commerce Secretary, and the US Deputy National Security Advisor during the month of December 2015, advising them to not allow their administration execute, what Indian officers reportedly portrayed as highly prejudiced and retaliatory steps.

In the letters, New Delhi reportedly alleged that the visa fee hikes were being initiated into legislation, minus the due procedure of notice & comment, and that the actions would critically weaken the continuing attempts to promote the India-US two-sided trade and investment association.

US Citizenship and Immigration Services Statistics

Still, despite H-1B and L-1 Visa charge increases, as per the latest information offered by US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the IT companies from India submitted application for a historic figure of the H-1B Visas for the 2017 financial year (FY).

Statistics reportedly reveals that while 124,000 petitions were obtained for the H-1B Visas for the FY 2014, as many as 172,500 petitions were obtained for the FY 2015, 233,000 for the present FY, and 236,000 for the next FY. A good number of the H-1B Visa applications are to take up Indian people.

 

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