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US Government Raises Fees for Business Visas

Written By The Shapiro Law Group on January 04, 2016

Businesses across the country are coming to grips with increased fees for H-1B and L-1 visas granted to non-immigrant applicants. The fees have been raised following concerns that holders of these visas were “squeezing” American employees out of jobs.

Under the new fee schedule, an additional $4,000 has been added to the cost of certain H-1B visas, and an additional $4,500 has been added to the cost of an L-1A or L-1B visa. This will bring the total costs associated with these visas to between $8,000 and $10,000.

These changes only apply to companies that employ 50 or more people within the United States, and only if more than 50% of those employees are currently holding H-1B or L-1 non-immigrant visas. Thus, these new fees will only apply to a limited number of companies across the country.

It is expected that information technology will be the sector most affected by these new fees. Many companies within this sector rely heavily upon workers from India who have relocated to Silicon Valley, as well as other technological parks throughout the country. Nationwide, it is expected the fee hike will result in an additional $400 million in operational costs for IT firms.

“The new fee schedule is set to be in place until 2025. Of course, congressional action in the future may change this. For now, companies affected by these new fees should plan to absorb these additional costs within their budgets,” commented Chicago immigration attorney Ronald Shapiro.

The US government caps the number of H-1B visas at 65,000 every year. A further 20,000 individuals who hold masters degrees or doctorates are exempt from this cap. At this time, it does not appear that congress will change these caps over the coming year.