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Labour Secretary: US to propose hike in H-1B visa application fee

Labour Secretary: US to propose hike in H-1B visa application fee: Labour Secretary Alexander Acosta told US lawmakers that the Donald Trump administration is proposing a hike in the H-1B visa application fee to increase funding for the expansion of an apprentice programme, which trains American youths in technology-related activities.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise
  • The technology companies depend on it to hire tens of thousands of employees each year from countries like India and China

Testifying before a Congressional committee on an annual budget of the Department of Labour for the fiscal year 2020 beginning October 1, 2019, Acosta, however, did not give details of the proposed increase in H-1B filing fee and as to which categories of applicants it would be enforced on.

But given past experience, the Indian IT companies, which account for a large number of H-1B applications, are likely to face the additional financial burden because of this proposed increase in H-1B filing fees.

The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. The technology companies depend on it to hire tens of thousands of employees each year from countries like India and China.

US to Propose Hike in H-1B Application Fee, Indian Firms May be Hit

Arguing that foreigners hurt American workers by competing for jobs and driving down wages, the Trump administration has tightened the noose around the H-1B visa programme. The Seattle Times on Monday reported that last year immigration officials denied nearly one out of every four requests for new visas for skilled foreign workers.

Acosta said in his testimony on May 2 before the Senate Appropriations Committee Subcommittee on Labour, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies, in FY 2020, the Department’s budget includes $160 million to continue our expansion of apprenticeship programmes, along with a proposal to increase H-1B fee revenues to fund additional apprenticeship activities.

Acosta said, “As a result of this private sector match requirement, educators have a greater incentive to join with industry to ensure curricula address the needs of our ever-changing workplace, investing in the latest technologies and techniques, and providing more in-demand opportunities for Americans.”

In a news story, Breitbart News said that every year, more than 100,000 foreign workers are brought to the US on the H-1B visa and are allowed to stay for up to six years. There are about 650,000 H-1B visa foreign workers in the US at any given moment, it added.

“Let’s put our citizens first and protect US workers and wages. Hard-working and highly-skilled American men and women share their stories about H-1B visa fraud and abuse,” Congressman Paul Gosar said.