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New Law Raises Visa Fees

Written By The Shapiro Law Group on September 07, 2010

On August 13, 2010, President Barack Obama signed federal legislation that will dramatically increase the visa fees that some companies pay to sponsor foreign “specialty occupation” workers.

Small but fast-growing technology companies that use a significant percentage of foreign workers are particularly concerned about the new law, which applies only to companies with at least 50 employees in the U.S. that have 50 percent of their work force holding H-1B or L visas (for highly skilled or specialty occupation workers).

The legislation, which went into immediate effect, has raised the fraud prevention and detection fee for L visas by $2,250 and H-1B visas by $2,000 for applicants who have more than 50 employees in the US if more than 50 percent of their employees on L or H-1B visas respectively. The filing fee increase is currently scheduled to end on September 30, 2014.

Large U.S. companies that supplement their work force with tiny percentages of foreign workers will not be affected and companies with less than 50 employees will also be exempt, but so-called “outsourcing firms” that rely heavily on foreign skilled workers will be hit hard.

Sen. Charles Schumer has reportedly stated that outsourcing companies have been targeted because they are essentially “multinational temp agencies” that pay less then prevailing wages.

The funds raised by the fee increases are expected to pay for tighter border security in some parts of the country, but it is not clear whether the increased tax revenues will be earmarked solely for that purpose.

If you have questions about visa applications or fees for your business, check out the professional worker visa section of our Website and/or call us for an appointment at (847) 564-0712.