- The Indian government filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization this week, alleging that the United States Congress’ special fees and changes to the 65,000 base H-1B cap constitute unfair trade restrictions.
- With the recent changes to the H-1B visa fees and caps, the Indian government claims the U.S. is breaking international trade rules.
- In December, Congress doubled H-1B visa fee to $4,000 for firms that have 50 or more employees working in the U.S., with more than half of those employees on H-1B or L-1 visas.
According to the complaint documents filed by representatives of the Indian government, the recent U.S. H-1B visa reform measures "appear to raise the overall barriers for service suppliers from India seeking entry into the United States."
Indian IT services firms have started to feel the pressure of H-1B reform in the U.S. In addition to raising the H-1B filing fee for IT services for the first time since 2010 in December, several H-1B reform bills are pending in the Senate, including one that would enact a minimum wage of $110,000 for H-1B workers, and one that would firms that offer the highest salaries. Indian IT service firms are the biggest users of H-1B visa workers.
Last summer, Southern California Edison workers complained over 500 of them were laid off so the company could bring in cheaper H-1B workers from other countries. Former Disney workers say the same thing happened to them when 250 employees were laid off in late 2014 and replaced by workers from an outsourcing company in India.
There has been some backlash to companies that use H-1B visa workers. In February, a former Disney employee who was fired and replaced by a foreign worker recently testified before the Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest in favor of H-1B visa reform.
"I and my coworkers at Disney in Florida experienced the humiliation of being forced to train our foreign replacements just flown in to take over our very own desks and computers from us," Leo Perrero said in his testimony.