US proposes H1B fee hike to help Americans

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Aiming to raise funds for the expansion of an apprentice programme, through which the American youths get trained in technology related activities, the US government is going to propose a hike in the H1B visa application fee, labour secretary Alexander Acosta said. He however remained mum on the percentage of fee increase and and as to which categories of applicants it would be enforced on.

But if the reports are to be believed, the Indian IT companies, which account for a large number of H-1B applications, are likely to face the additional financial burden, due to the yet-to-be announced H1B visa application fee hike.

Earlier, the Trump administration blamed the foreigners saying that they are going against American workers by competing for employment and driving down wages instead of Americans bringing new reforms to the existing H1B visa programme.

“In FY 2020, the Department’s budget includes $160 million to continue our expansion of apprenticeship programmes, along with a proposal to increase H-1B fee revenues to fund additional apprenticeship activities,” Acosta said in his testimony on May 2 before the Senate Appropriations Committee — Subcommittee on Labour, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies.

Last year, the Labour Department has launched the first-ever sector-based apprenticeship grant funding opportunity, with the intention of investing $150 million so that the apprenticeships can be expanded in those in-demand industry sectors that are usually filled by individuals on H-1B visas, such as information technology, health care and advanced manufacturing.

“As a result of this private sector match requirement, educators have a greater incentive to join with industry to ensure curricula address the needs of our ever-changing workplace, investing in the latest technologies and techniques, and providing more in-demand opportunities for Americans,” Acosta said.

“Let’s put our citizens first and protect US workers and wages. Hard-working and highly-skilled American men and women share their stories about H-1B visa fraud and abuse,” Congressman Paul Gosar said.

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