US visa: H-1B & L-1 new rules to be out on July 8; hefty extension fee on cards— impact on Indians, other details here

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The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is getting ready to unveil new rules for H-1B visas to combat fraud and enhance national security, reported Business Because.

The new visa policy will likely have radical implications for employers and professionals, particularly Indians. The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) suggested that, as per the new proposed rules, all H-1B visa extensions would require a $4,000 fee.

“These proposed changes aim to strengthen our immigration system and ensure the integrity of employment-based visa programs while also safeguarding national security,” the Times of India quoted the DHS as saying.

The US will disclose the new rules on July 8 before implementing the visa changes. The new rules will be open for public comment for a specific period of time. The H-1B visa serves as the main pathway for Indian IT companies to deploy their software engineering professionals in the US. It is important to note that Indians have constituted the majority of H-1B visa recipients in the past.

The authorities are poised to impose changes to the cost of L-1 visa extensions as well. This visa permits companies to hire managers and executives from foreign offices and bring them to the US. The proposed rule would mandate a $4,500 fee to extend an L-1 visa. Thus, employers with 50 or more employees, where over 50 per cent of employees hold H-1B or L-1 visas, are required to pay a fee for initial petitions and when there is a change of employer.

The USCIS grants H-1B visa applicants residency and work permit after the employer provides a sponsorship allowance. This permit will stay valid for an initial period of three years after completing a higher education degree.

Currently, the 9/11 Response and Biometric Entry-Exit Fee, introduced in 2015, applies only to initial visa petitions and changes of employers. The proposed amendments aim to expand this fee to encompass all H-1B and L-1 visa extension petitions.

Meanwhile, the Department of Homeland Security confirmed that the new fees will not be required for L-1 or H-1B visa extensions until a final ruling is issued.


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