The issue of IT industry visa problems has been taken up with the U.S. Trade Representative, Ambassador Michael Froman, during the Trade Policy Forum meeting in New Delhi on October 20, 2016.
On December 18, 2015, the US President signed into law the 2016 Omnibus Spending Bill (Public Law 114-113) which doubled the supplemental visa fees for L-1 and H-1B visas for a period of 10 years for companies employing 50 or more employees in the United States, 50% or more of which were on L-1 and H-1B visas (50:50 rule). With this legislation in place, 50:50 companies would now need to pay an enhanced fee of $4,500 for each L-1 visa and $4000 for each H-1B visa, as compared to $2,250 and $2000 previously. According to data available from the US State Department, Indian nationals accounts for 69.43 percent of total H1B visas issued during Fiscal Year 2015.
The matter on US visa fee hike has been raised by India at the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Geneva. India had consultations with the United States on 11-12 May 2016 at the WTO, Geneva under WTO Dispute Settlement Mechanism. India had raised claims on US measures relating to:
i. Fees for L-1 and H-1B visas;
ii. Numerical commitment for H-1B visas.
The US Trade Representative’s position is that the Public Law 114-113 applies uniformly to all companies irrespective of the origin of the company.
Visa related issues of IT industry have been raised with the US Government at various forums, including at the Ministerial dialogues during the Strategic and Commercial Dialogue in August 2016 and the Trade Policy Forum in October 2016.