American lawmakers praise hike on visa fees

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Washington, Aug 11: The bill to hike US visa fees for skilled workers, which was passed by US House of Representatives despite protests from India, has earned praises of leading American lawmakers.

"This measure is fully paid for, and it improves communications and collaboration between federal, state, and local officials," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said.

The House of Representatives on Tuesday, Aug 10 passed the Emergency Border Security Supplemental Appropriations Act, aimed at raising a 600 million dollar package to bolster the security along Mexican
border, by a voice vote.

"Strengthening border security is one of the central pillars of bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform, and I hope Democrats and Republicans will use today's progress as a building block for comprehensive reform," Pelosi added.

The fee hike is applicable to companies with more than 50 employees and for whom the majority of their workforce is visa-holding foreign workers.

While the fees on H-1B visas is set to go up from 320 dollars to a whopping 2,320 dollars, L-1 visa fees would go up from 320 dollars to 2,570 dollar.

"The bill is fully offset. It increases, for five years, the cost of two visas which permit foreign workers to come and work in the United States," said Congressman David Price, one of the main author of the Bill.

"The Bill also includes a USD 100 million rescission from unobligated balances within the Department of Homeland Security's border security fencing, infrastructure and technology appropriation due to an ongoing assessment of the SBInet program," he added.

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