- Congressional leaders released a $1.1 trillion spending bill on Wednesday that included a provision that would raise the H-1B filing fee for IT services for the first time since 2010, Computer World reports.
- That new $4,000 fee would be applied to firms of at least 50 employees and that have at least 50% of their employees on an H-1B or L-1 visa.
- Congress must still vote to approve the spending bill.
The previous H-1B legislation was effective for five years and lapsed on Oct. 1. The new fee is good through Sept. 30, 2025.
Indian IT services firms, which are the biggest users of H-1B visa workers, called the earlier fee discriminatory. They are likely to respond negatively to the latest bump. Demand for visas has been rising, but a growing legion of critics of the H-1B program may welcome the higher fee.
Several H-1B reform bills are pending in the Senate. U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz wants to enact a minimum wage of $110,000 for H-1B workers, while Senators Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), want to prioritize H-1B distribution by wages, favoring firms that offer the highest salaries.
The final vote on the spending bill may happen as soon as Friday.