India expresses displeasure over visa fee hike by US

Union finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who is currently in the US, said the decision is targeted at Indian IT professionals

Washington: India has expressed concern over the hike in visa fee by the US, terming it ‘discriminatory’ and that the decision largely affects Indian IT professionals.

Arun Jaitley speaks at Carnegie Endowment on the sidelines of 2016 Spring Summit of World Bank/International Monetary Fund in Washington DC yesterday. Pic/PTI
Arun Jaitley speaks at Carnegie Endowment on the sidelines of 2016 Spring Summit of World Bank/International Monetary Fund in Washington DC yesterday. Pic/PTI

During a bilateral meeting with US Trade Representative Ambassador Michael Froman, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley also underlined the need for early conclusion of Totalisation Agreement that would benefit Indians working in America.

Referring to the visa issue, he said, “India’s concern over the hike in the H-1B and L1 visa fee, which is discriminatory and in effect is largely targeted at Indian IT companies.”

Last year, the US Congress imposed a special fee of up to USD 4,500 on H-1B and L-1 visas — popular among Indian IT companies — to fund a 9/11 healthcare Act and biometric tracking system.

While agreeing on the USD 1.1 trillion spending Bill, Congressional leaders decided to impose a special fee of USD 4,000 on certain categories of H-1B visas and USD 4,500 on L-1 visas. As per Industry estimates, Indian professionals contributed more than USD 25 billion to the US Social Security during the last decade, without being able to retrieve their contributions.

$25 billion
Contribution of Indian professionals towards the US Social Security in the past 10 years

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