Why will Indian IT companies have to pay Rs 5.3-6.6 lakh per H-1B visa from April 1

Almost all Indian IT companies would pay between $8,000 (nearly Rs 5.3 lakh) and $10,000 (nearly Rs 6.63 lakh) per H-1B visa from April 1 when the next annual H-1B visa filing session starts, thus making it quite unsustainable economically for them.

This is not only because of the $4,000 (nearly Rs 2.65 lakh) new fee imposed on Indian IT companies under the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2016 which was signed into law by President Barack Obama, but also due to a series of other fee that the Congress has added onto the H-1B visa application over the past one decade.

Notably the original H-1B visa application fee is just $325 (approximately Rs 21,500).

Beginning March 2005 another $500 (nearly Rs 31,000) was added as Prevention and Detection Fee. Then there is an Employer Sponsorship fee under which companies having more than 25 employees have to pay $1,500 (nearly Rs 99,500) per visa application.

In case of 25 employees, companies pay half the amount $750 (nearly Rs 50,000). This is meant to fund the training of US workers.

As per the bill signed into law by Obama on Friday, companies having more than 50 employees and more than 50% of employees that are on H1B or L1 Visa status would have to pay an additional $4,000 per H-1B visa applications.

In the case of L1 visa it is $4,500 (nearly Rs 3 lakh). And not to miss is the Premium Processing Fee of $1,225 (nearly Rs 81,000).

Under this, US Citizenship and Immigration Services decided on the H-1B visa application within 15 business days.

Given that Indian companies quite often have to send their employees to the US at a short notice they mostly end up opting the premium processing.

In addition to all these, most of the Indian companies pay between $1,000 to $2,000 as attorney fee for filing the H-1B visa application fee.

The H1B visa application fee is non-refundable.

Further Indian techies who come to the US on H-1B and L1 visas also pay Social Security and Medicare as part of their pay role. According to some estimates, it is more than $1 billion (nearly Rs 6,647 crore) per annum.

While on paper they are eligible to receive Social Security benefits even if they leave the US, provided they have paid Social Security payroll taxes for at least 10 years, but since Indian IT professionals on H-1B visas can t stay in the US for more than six years, that entire amount becomes non-partible.

India has been in talks with the US in this regard, but there is any hardly any movement.

Given that India has a global leadership in IT, Indian companies are major beneficiaries of the H-1B visas.