As per a report, the US will hold a discussion with India next month, in April, over the latest H-1B and L-1 Visa charge hikes, largely affecting the firms run and held by Indians in the US. The development comes in the wake of India's protest before the World Trade Organization (WTO) involving the fee hikes put on the non-immigrant visas.

The Commerce Ministry of India--which is reportedly planning to show, with the assistance of a battery of attorneys, that the H-1B and L-1 Visa cost hikes are highly prejudiced against Indian IT companies running in the US--stated that it does not look ahead to a quick resolution at the discussion stage.

A Commerce Ministry officer reportedly indicated that though New Delhi wants Washington DC to see its standpoint at the consultation stage itself, and withdraw the visa charge increase, it is not likely to occur. India has to be rather prepared to battle a case at the dispute panel. Commerce Ministry’s legal team is making efforts to establish the infringement of the WTO laws on both de facto (in effect) and de jure (by law) ground.

Latest US Immigration Legislation

During the month of December 2015, Barack Obama, the in-office US President, gave green signal to the new legislation that led to the introduction of a new charge for some specific classes of the H-1B and the L-1 Visas that mostly had an effect on the Indian owned organizations. While the added fee for an H-1B Visa swelled to 4,000 dollars, the L-1 Visa fee increased to 4,500 dollars.

With the cost only applicable to the groups hiring more than 50 foreigners with more than 50 of workers on the L-1s, and H-1Bs, the visa fee increases is viewed as targeting primarily the Indian IT companies functioning in the US.

The in-office Foreign Secretary of India is believed to have duly addressed the issue with the US Trade envoy at some stage in a new trip to the US. As per a declaration from India's Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), the former underlined the unhelpful impacts that the visa cost raise would have on the Indian IT organizations.

Cost of Augmentations As Per Nasscom

According to an estimate by the Indian IT group, Nasscom, the raise in the H-1B and L-1 Visa costs will lead to losses totaling to 400 million dollars for the Indian IT companies.

US L-1, H-1B Visa Charge Legislation Can Be Challenged

Allegedly, the visa fee legislation itself is open to legal challenge, against the backdrop of the fact the same differentiates against the overseas manpower, via punishing firms for not enlisting sufficient labor force from the local workers.

The US has recommended possible consultation dates of April 5 or 6 even while the MEA reportedly stated that they will review the availability of their officers for the dates recommended and reply in view of that.


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