News Update: March 9, 2005
It is getting more and more expensive to file nonimmigrant visa petitions, especially H-1’s and L-1’s. As of March 8th, all employers must pay an additional $500 filing fee for fraud prevention and detection for every new H-1 or L-1 nonimmigrant visa petition. This applies to all new employees, not to extensions of stay or amendments.
This $500 fee is in addition to the recent increase in filing fees. The basic filing fee for an H-1B is $185. Add on to that a $1,500 filing fee if the company employs 25 people or more ($750 if the company employs less than 25 people). If an employer wants to have premium processing, that is another $1,000 filing fee. The grand total for a company of over 25 employees who wants an H-1B with premium processing is $3,185!
For an L-1, the filing fee will be $185 + the $500 fraud prevention and detection fee. If premium processing is requested, that will be an additional $1,000 for a grand total of $1,685.
What is incredible is that the government H-1B filing fees are now more than our legal fees! I don’t know how the government can justify this when their service and work seems to be so inferior, at times.
20,000 Extra H-1 Numbers
Effective March 8th, 20,000 extra H-1B numbers have been made available. It was first anticipated that this would be made available ONLY for persons who had obtained advanced degrees from United States universities. However, in a press release, it was stated that anyone could file for an H-1.
Therefore, persons who only have a bachelor’s degree appear to be eligible to file. However, the same press release indicated that employers should not file until an official notice is published in the Federal Register. This will be good news for employers who would like to file for an H-1 immediately rather than wait until October 1st. It is anticipated, however, that these numbers will be used up, very quickly. Therefore, any employer thinking about filing such an application should immediately prepare the paperwork.
Prevailing Wage Changes
Also effective March 8th, is the requirement that employers pay 100% of the prevailing wage determination. Up until now, an employer only needed to pay 95% of the prevailing wage, due to the inaccuracy of the prevailing wage determinations. That has ended and now, once the prevailing wage is determined, an employer must pay 100% of the prevailing wage, whether this is for H-1 purposes or labor certification purposes. By the way, for labor certification purposes, the wage can be paid at a later date. Not so, however, in an H-1 situation.
If you have any questions about these recent changes, please call us at 888-344-0892.