Visa Fee Hiked by US
The Government is aware of an Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Bill that has been signed into law by the US President on August 13, 2010.
The Bill aims to raise $ 600 million for augmenting US Border Security by (i) increasing fees to US $ 2250 for applicants that employ 50 or more employees in the US if more than 50 % of the applicants’ employees are non-immigrants admitted on H1B visas or L visas and (ii) increasing the filing fee for such applications to US $ 2000 for such applicants. This provision, while not country specific, would affect Indian software companies adversely as a large number of H1B and L visas are availed by them.
Even while the legislation was under process, the Embassy of India in Washington immediately took up the matter with the US Administration and key lawmakers at various levels. The matter has also been taken up by the Commerce and Industry Minister with his counterpart and by the Foreign Secretary with the US Ambassador. The Government has expressed its strong concerns at the legislation, stating that such steps by the US Government adversely affect the Indian Software Industry’s interests in the USA and impact the broader bilateral economic relationship. It has been conveyed that the legislation would primarily impact companies of Indian origin and is seen as a discriminatory and protectionist measure.