The US government has announced a hike in the fee for the H-1B visa, which is a popular work visa for skilled foreign professionals. The fee increase, which will take effect from October 1, 2023, will affect the applicants, their families, the investors, and the employers who rely on the H-1B visa program.
H-1B visa fee hike: What are the changes and the reasons?
The H-1B visa fee hike is part of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) biennial fee review, which aims to recover the full cost of its operations and services. The fee hike will apply to both new and existing H-1B visa holders, as well as their dependents.
According to the USCIS, the fee for the H-1B visa will increase by 21%, from $460 to $555. The fee for the H-4 visa, which is for the spouses and children of the H-1B visa holders, will increase by 75%, from $370 to $645. The fee for the I-140 petition, which is for the permanent residency or green card application, will increase by 22%, from $700 to $855.
The USCIS said that the fee hike is necessary to cover the rising costs of processing, adjudicating, and providing services for the H-1B visa program, which has become more complex and time-consuming over the years. The USCIS also said that the fee hike is in line with the US government’s policy of ensuring that the H-1B visa program is used to hire the best and the brightest foreign workers, and not to displace or undercut American workers.
H-1B visa fee hike: How it affects the applicants and their families?
The H-1B visa fee hike will have a significant impact on the applicants and their families, who will have to bear the additional financial burden of applying for and renewing their visas. The fee hike will also affect the applicants’ chances of getting the visa, as the demand for the visa may exceed the supply.
The H-1B visa is a highly sought-after visa, as it allows foreign professionals to work in the US for up to six years, with the possibility of extending their stay or applying for a green card. The H-1B visa is subject to an annual cap of 85,000, which includes 65,000 for the regular category and 20,000 for the advanced degree category. The H-1B visa is allocated through a lottery system, which is conducted every April.
The fee hike will make the H-1B visa more expensive and less affordable for many applicants, especially those from developing countries, who may have to pay more than 10% of their annual income for the visa. The fee hike will also discourage some applicants from applying for the visa, as they may not be able to afford the risk of losing the lottery and wasting their money. The fee hike will also reduce the number of applications for the H-4 visa and the I-140 petition, as the spouses and children of the H-1B visa holders may not be able to join or stay with them in the US.
H-1B visa fee hike: How it affects the investors and the employers?
The H-1B visa fee hike will also have a significant impact on the investors and the employers, who will have to pay more for hiring and retaining foreign talent. The fee hike will also affect the competitiveness and innovation of the US economy, which depends on the skills and contributions of the H-1B visa holders.
The H-1B visa is a vital source of talent for many sectors and industries in the US, such as technology, engineering, finance, education, and health care. The H-1B visa holders bring diverse skills, knowledge, and perspectives to the US workforce, and help create jobs, products, and services that benefit the US consumers and society. The H-1B visa holders also contribute to the US tax revenue, social security, and Medicare.
The fee hike will make the H-1B visa more costly and less attractive for the investors and the employers, who will have to pass on the extra cost to their customers or shareholders, or reduce their profit margins. The fee hike will also discourage some investors and employers from hiring foreign talent, as they may not be able to justify the return on investment. The fee hike will also reduce the supply and diversity of talent in the US market, as some H-1B visa holders may opt to work in other countries that offer better opportunities and incentives.