US House passes bill to hike visa fees
Washington, Aug 11: Handing out a major blow to the Indian IT industry, the US House of Representatives on Tuesday, Aug 10 passed the bill to hike US visa fees for skilled workers.
This comes after the Senators passed a similar bill earlier. However, since the House version passed in a voice vote is slightly different the bill is set to go back to the Senate for final congressional approval.
After the congressional approval, President Barack Obama will be signing the bill into a law.
The bill aims at contributing to the 600 million dollar package to bolster security along the porous US-Mexican border.
With this, the fees on H-1B visas for companies who have more than 50 per cent of their employees on such visas for highly skilled professionals from 320 dollars to a whopping 2,320 dollars.
The measure will also increase the fee on L-1 visas given to multi-national transferees from 320 dollars to 2,570 dollar.
H-1B and L1 visas are most sought after by Indian IT professionals. Besides this, the top Indian IT companies rely on these category of visas to carry on with their work in America.
The bill was passed by the US despite heavy protests from India.