Technology

Companies unfazed by hike in H-1B visa fee

The fee increase for H-1B and L1 visa applications will have little effect, as companies have worked on alternative options to counter the move.

The US Department of Homeland Security announced in a notification that it was up 21 percent and 75 percent, respectively, for one of the most in-demand visa categories. The cost will go from $ 460 to $ 555 for H1-B visas and $ 460 to $ 855 for L1. According to immigration officials, companies such as those with more than 50 non-US employees (holding H1-B) may have to pay an additional $ 4,000 for every visa.

The development comes after US President Donald Trump issued a proclamation that prohibits skilled workers from working in the US until 31 December this year. The increase has continued since October.

Local fare

While the IT industry did not offer to comment immediately on the impact of this, and while some believe it is not as important, others say the increase is an indirect way to hire local people.

Mastek co-founder Ashank Desai said, “It won’t have much impact because companies are working locally.” Every year, 85,000 visas (which include renewal) are for graves. “They are trying to push local recruitment even if they don’t have the requisite manpower. We are expecting a year before the US elections and half from this rhetoric,” said one of the top-5 IT outsourcing company. Senior VP said.

Majoring in IT

The Indian IT industry of $ 191 billion has been facing several major issues regarding obtaining these visas in the last four years. Visa officials have seen an increase in the number of cases by US authorities under the Request for Evidence (RFE). The RFE is a notice sent to the applicant by USCIS, requesting for missing preliminary / additional evidence. Once the applicant submits the evidence, it is decided whether to approve or deny the visa. Rohit Turkhood, partner of Fakhouri Global Immigration, said, “The investigation found visa approval to be very cumbersome and time consuming due to numerous notices and any discrepancies.”

In the first half of FY 2020, about half of the visa petitions fall under RFE. About 41.7 percent of the total H-1B visa petitions were processed after the RFE order; Of these, 67.8 percent were granted H-1B visas. As an example, random compliance has increased significantly.

Companies, on their part, have begun to hire locally and use remote technologies to counter them all. “Working from home is expected to work more in the new normal way,” said Raja Lahiri, partner at Grant Throtton India.

Indian companies, which consume a large portion of H1-B visas, have made a big push to hire their local. TCS, Infosys, HCL Tech and Wipro have an average 50–65 per cent international workforce as compared to the local ones.

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