23 August 2010

India to discuss increase in US Visa application fee with Obama

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India is expected to raise the issue of the large increase in the US Visa application fee, which threatens to make Indian IT companies in the US uncompetitive, when US President Barack Obama visits to the country in November.

Minister of State for External Affairs Preneet Kaur said India has already conveyed its concern to the US and the prime minister will also take up this matter with President Barack Obama during his visit in November to India.

The proposal to raise the US Visa application fees to fund the prevention of illegal migration into the US from Mexico has been criticized because it will make the cost of business for Indian IT companies doing work in the US too high.

Industry experts have said the increase in US Visa application fees to fund new measures would result in Indian IT companies having to shell out up to $250 million annually on visa costs. 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 proposed increase in visa application fee by at least $2,000 for next five years would raise nearly $550 million, which will make up the majority of the funding for a $650 million plan to increase the security of the US-Mexico border.

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

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