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US Hikes H-1B Visa Fee, To Hit Indian IT Cos

In a move that is expected to hit Indian IT companies majorly, the US government has decided to hike H-1B visa fee from next fiscal.

In a statement, USCIS listed out the details of the fees to be filed by the applicants for H-1B visas, which starts from a base fee of $ 325 to $ 2,000 by the petitioner who employs 50 or more employees in the US - where more than 50 per cent of its workers in the US are in H-1B or L-1 non- immigrant status.

This year, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is charging $750 for employers with 1 to 25 full-time equivalent employees, and $1,500 for employers with 26 or more full-time equivalent employees.

There is another $500 listed as fraud prevention and detection fee.

And employers seeking premium processing service, in which application is processed within 15 days, need to submit an additional $ 1,225, it said.

India's software and services companies earn around 60 per cent of their revenues from the US and employ a large number of professionals here.

USCIS also said that applications for the most sought after H-1B work visa - used extensively by Indian IT professionals - for the fiscal beginning October 1, would be accepted beginning April 2.

The congressionally mandated numerical limitation on H-1B petitions for the fiscal year 2013 is 65,000, as has been in the previous years.

Additionally, the first 20,000 H-1B petitions filed on behalf of individuals who have earned a US master's degree or higher are exempt from the fiscal year cap.


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