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India protests US bill on foreign workers visas

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

New Delhi has pronounced itself against the hike on the US visa fees for foreign workers; India termed the bill “discriminatory”.

The bill, which would see the cost of a visa application to $2,000, would cost Indian companies over $200m a year.

The legislation would raise fees for H1B and L1 visas, which outsourcing companies use to send workers to the US for project work.

The fee increases would only be levied on companies where over half of US -based employees use work visas.

It has been argued that the bill unfairly targets Indian companies as US companies like IBM, Microsoft and Intel - which use more foreign-worker visas than Indian companies - would not be liable for the increased fees because a greater proportion of their workers are American.

The visas, usually issued for a three-year period, allow temporary employment of foreign workers in specialty occupations. The US has a quota of about 100,000 H1-B visas each year.

Indian companies, such as Infosys, Wipro and Tata Consultancy Services, top the list of companies receiving the largest number of these work permits.
Indian software services companies pay over $1bn each year to the US government in the form of Social Security, “with no benefit or prospect of a refund”.

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