US Proposes A New Registration Fee for New H-1B Visas

The proposed fee for H-1B visas is an important part of the registration process. The new visa system will come into force for the subsequent application cycle that begins on April 1, 2020.

US Immigration and a New Fee

The federal US agency proposed a $10 registration fee for the new H-1B visa, to offset the incurred cost in the process. The H-1B visa belongs to the non-immigrant category which permits US companies in employing overseas workers in special occupations requiring a theoretical and technical expertise. The technological companies every year are dependent on it for hiring thousands of employees. The candidates mostly belong to India and China. The new system, was delayed earlier this year, but is enforceable on April 1, 2020.

The federal notification states that once the USCIS implements this system, it will desist from considering any H-1B cap petition but for the valid registration selection for the applicable Fiscal Year. As per the notification, the Homeland Security Department proposes a fee of $10 for registration in the H-1B cap selections.

The New Rule is Effective

The DHS has an estimate of 192,918 H-1B cap registrations in a year. Thus the proposed fee will generate revenue worth $1,929,180.

The DHS rules specify that petitioners who seek filing the H-1B petitions that are subjected to a regular cap, and also for the exemption of an advanced degree, have to initially register electronically with the USCIS in the designated period for registration.

When registration is necessary, the H-1B cap petition has to be based on registration for the given name of the beneficiary for the appropriate Fiscal Year for consideration of properly filing. The DHS proposed the fee for submission of H-1B registration for recovering the costs. The notification states that the DHS estimate of registration can save $1.6 million every year. The total cost (one-time) to USCIS will, be $1.5 million for initially developing the Registration Website.

The Reason and the Estimates

The contention of the federal government is that the $10 fee sticks to the ability to pay standard because the petitioners have the ability and readiness to incur filing fees for petitioning to get the H-1B workers. The H-1B petitioners today pay a filing fee of $460 per petition.

Additionally, apart from the filing fee, H-1B petitions have to pay $6,000 as the statutory fee. The division of the USCIS revenue is that US Customs and Border Protection gets 50% of the fee and 50% is deposited in the General Treasury Fund. The USCIS also retains 5% of American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act fee. The remaining share belongs to the Labor Department and to the Science Foundation.

The USCIS retains one third of the Fee for Fraud Detection and Prevention, and the remainder goes to the State Department and the Labor Department.

Extra Incurring of Fees

These statutory fees are apart from the present Form I-129 fee ($460) and premium processing fee ($1,410). The H-1B petitioners already incur significant fees and the DHS believes that this registration fee is too trivial to merit a consideration. Finally, it is consistent with the ability to pay and readiness principle.

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