In not-so-pleasant news for US visa aspirants, the Biden regime has suggested a big increase in charges for immigration and naturalisation benefits, with huge amounts in job-oriented categories such as H-1B visas.
The charges for pre-registration for H-1B visas are supposed to surge by 2,050% ie from $10 presently to $215, 70% for the H-1 category, including H-1B, from $460 to $780 and 129% for the O category for exceptionally talented workers. Even, the EB-5 visa meant for investors and business owners – known as a millionaires’ visa – will also get mighty costly, $11,160 from $3,675 at present.
The suggested increases were published in the Federal Register On January 3 by the Department of Homeland Security, the ultimate body of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services looking into processing immigration and naturalization requests.
The USCIS linked the increase in charges to adequately finance its operations.
Defending its move to hike the rates, the agency stated, “The proposed fee rule is the result of a comprehensive fee review at USCIS. That review determined that the agency’s current fees, which have remained unchanged since 2016, fall far short of recovering the full cost of agency operations.”
The increased rates are intended to spike USCIS’s yearly yield from $3.28 billion in 2022-2023 with the current rates to $5.2 billion over the same period. These rates had been tweaked in 2016.
On the question of a 2,050% hike in pre-registration fee for H-1B petitions, the USCIS justified the move. While accepting that the increase might come across as “dramatic”, it said the $10 fee was set up in 2019 merely to support only a minor part of the cost of the programme, instead of eliminating the fee altogether.
The US gives close to 85,000 visas, in the H-1B category, to foreigners to work at US companies to meet the shortage of local labour in speciality occupations. And close to 75% of these visas are pocketed by Indians.