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H-1B Visa: Reforms In The Bill

The bill says that IT companies would be required to pay a hefty amount of $8000 to $10000 for an H-1B visa

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The H-1B is a non-immigrant visa in the United States that allows U.S. employers to temporarily employ foreign workers in special occupations. If a worker on H-1B visa quits or is relegated from the employer, the worker must apply for a change of status to another non-immigrant status, find another employer or leave the U.S. in a grace period of up to 60 days. H-1B work authorizations are strictly limited to employment by the sponsoring employer.

The duration of stay is three years, extendable to six years. An exception to the maximum length of stay applies in certain circumstances. Every year around 85,000 H1B visas are issued, most of which are taken up by employees of major Indian tech companies.

President-elect Donald Trump had pledged to bring back jobs in the US during his campaign. He had promised to make America great again using slogans “Buy American, Hire American” and he had immediately proposed changes in the congress.

Bills seeking to reform the H1B visa program were proposed in the US. One of the key changes proposed included the doubling the minimum wage of H1B visa holders to $130,000, a move that could possibly hurt most of the IT companies that send thousands of professionals every year, and are under pressure of cut in revenue and operating profit.

The bill says that IT companies would be required to pay a hefty amount of $8000 to $10000 for an H-1B visa. This amount will be applicable for H-1B visa and L1 visa as the next annual visa filing season commences, from 1 April 2016.

All the companies that have 50 or more employees having 50 per cent of their employees non-immigrant will need to pay an additional fee of $4000. The fee increase is liable for new applications and transfers, but not applicable for extending petitions with the same employer. This fee is additional fee to the standard H1B fee that is applicable.

Small- to mid-sized Indian software companies which are heavily reliant on the US market and probably work on an 80-90% H1B visa will be the most affected. Job queries from Indians in the US in the last few weeks have risen 100 per cent as compared to December.

The proposed salary is seven times high compared to what is being paid now and the slumping IT sector will be affected the most. Application for H-1B work visas, which is highly popular among Indian IT companies and professionals, for the fiscal year 2018 can be filed from 3 April.


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