12 August 2010

IT industry voices concern over skilled US Visa fee increase

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The proposed US Border Security Bill, which will lead to a hike in US Visa fees, has been called “discriminatory” by the IT industry.

US Visa

The changes to the US Visa fee will affect the IT industry, the National Association of Software and Services Companies said.

The increase in US Visa fees will cost Indian firms an additional $200-250 million annually, and make the Indian IT industry less competitive in the global market, the National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom) said.

"This will have a negative impact on Indian companies that are investing in the US, employing US talent and are overall aiding the US economic recovery," Nasscom Vice President Ameet Nivsarker said.

The Emergency Border Security Supplemental Appropriations Act was passed yesterday by a voice vote in the House of Representatives. The Bill proposes to increase US Visa application fees by at least $2,000 for the next five years to raise nearly $550 million to help fund plans to increase security along the US-Mexico border. These fee increases will apply only to companies with more than 50 employees and for whom the majority of their workforces are visa-holding foreign workers.

Nasscom estimates that Indian companies, with the large majority IT companies, apply for 50,000 visas every year to bring in skilled workers through the H-1B and L-1 streams, besides renewal of old visas.

The increase in fees would make Indian IT companies operating in the US, who employ Americans and invest in the country, uncompetitive when the need is for open markets.

The American Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people make US Visa applications to the American Embassy.

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