Attention for Employers: Proposed DHS Rule May Impose New Fees on H-1B and L-1 Visa..
Attention for Employers: Proposed DHS Rule May Impose New Fees on H-1B and L-1 Visa..

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is considering a new rule that would require employers to pay additional fees to extend work visas for foreign employees. Under the proposed rule, a $4,000 fee would be mandated for extending an H-1B visa, and a $4,500 fee for extending an L-1 visa. These fees are part of the 9/11 Response and Biometric Entry-Exit Fee, currently applicable only to initial visa petitions and changes of employers.

The 9/11 Response and Biometric Entry-Exit Fee was established to fund national security programs, including systems to track the entry and exit of non-U.S. citizens. Initiated by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016, this fee applies specifically to certain H-1B and L-1 visa petitions.

Current Fee Structure

Currently, employers with 50 or more employees in the United States, where over 50% of these employees hold H-1B or L-1 visas, must pay the $4,000 fee for H-1B petitions and the $4,500 fee for L-1 petitions for initial petitions or changes of employer.

Proposed Changes

The proposed rule suggests extending these fees to include visa extension petitions. This means employers would need to pay the $4,000 or $4,500 fee not only for initial petitions or changes of employer but also for extending the employment period of existing H-1B or L-1 visa holders.

Reasons for the Change

The DHS has outlined several reasons for this proposed change:

Increased Funding Needs: The expanded fee will provide additional funds necessary for the biometric entry-exit system's continued operation and enhancement.
Consistency and Fairness: The change aims to ensure uniform application of the fee across all petition types, promoting fairness.
Enhanced Security: Adequate funding will help maintain and improve the biometric entry-exit system, crucial for monitoring immigration and enhancing national security.
Impact on Employers

If implemented, the rule will increase costs for employers who heavily rely on H-1B and L-1 visas. Companies with a significant number of visa extensions may face substantial financial burdens, potentially leading them to reassess their hiring strategies and approach to extending employment for foreign workers.

The DHS is currently seeking public comments on the proposed rule. Stakeholders and the general public have the opportunity to provide feedback until July 8, 2024.

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