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The Economic Times
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| 22 October, 2020, 08:55 PM IST | E-Paper
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    SEARCHED FOR:L 1 VISA

    Fee increase put on stay

    US court blocks Trump ban on H-1B, L-1 visas

    In June, US President Donald Trump had signed a Presidential Proclamation banning the entry of c...

    • The ITServe Alliance (ITServe), which represents over 1,400 small and medium IT staffing companies in the United States, said the Interim Final Rules (IFR) were ‘baseless and unwarranted’. Democrat leaders have also criticized the latest H1-B changes.

      In a statement, the industry body said that it was important for the US market to be able to access skilled talent, especially during the Covid recovery phase.

      As per a notification, H-1B and L-1 employees who are applying for the same role in the same organisation as earlier would be eligible to apply under the revised guidelines, as well as applicants who meet a few other criteria. Canada too has issued updated guidelines for students who are scheduled to study in the country this year.

      The complaint had been filed by law firm Wasden Banias, on behalf of the Indian nationals impacted by the ban. It said, “Proclamation 10052’s H-1B/H-4 visa ban hurts the United States economy, separates families, and defies congress. While the two former points render it unseemly, the latter point renders it unlawful.”

      The June 22 Proclamation, which barred the entry of H-1B, L-1 and J1 visa holders till the end of the year, was eventually suspended by a US district court in early October. This study focused on H-1B and L-1 visas as they are of relevance to the top companies.

      Expect a continued attack on legal immigration. Don’t expect the President to ever take down the bans on non-immigrant and immigrant visas. And as the courts get more and more Trump-appointed judges, the use of presidential proclamations to ban even more groups will likely continue.

      According to certain studies, while most tech firms do pay H-1B workers higher than the prevailing wage rate. “This is not a minor increase in wages. They’re fairly substantial and could be a serious deterrence,” said immigration attorney Greg Siskind.

      Indians form the largest nationality of H-1B visa holders.

      “USCIS’ dramatic fee increases will immediately devastate vulnerable populations and our organizational plaintiffs who serve them. The planned fee hikes and unprecedented fee to apply for asylum, including an 83% increase for naturalization applications, place an unlawful barrier in the way of individuals eligible for immigration benefits,” said Jesse Bless, AILA’s Director of Litigation.

      The HR 8377 Bill provides for funding to allow the federal government to continue to operate till December 11. A part of the bill, Emergency Stopgap USCIS Stabilization Act, allows the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to charge more for premium processing of visas and expands it to cover more categories.

      Trump has promised a stricter work visa regime in a bid to create more jobs for American workers in a struggling economy. His rival Joe Biden, on the other hand, has vowed to restore a liberal work visa regime and expand employment-based visas that he says are critical for US businesses.

      Under the new rules, filing fees for H-1B high skill visas would increase by 21% to $555 and those for L1 visas by 75% to $850. In what would significantly impact Indian IT services firms, companies with more than 50 employees, where 50% or more are on an H-1B or L-1 visa, would have to pay an additional $4,000 or $4,500 for each visa extension.

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