TechServe Alliance Files Comments Opposing Excessive H-1B Fee Increases
TechServe Alliance CEO Mark Roberts submitted comments to the Dept. of Homeland Security/U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), opposing significant increases in H-1B visa fees. Because the proposed rule would in addition to other fee increases impose a $600 fee for every change of status to support the asylum program, it would be particularly burdensome on IT staffing firms that place H-1B consultants when and where the talent is needed at different clients.
The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) was issued in early January 2023.
Of significant concern to TechServe members, the proposed rule would increase the fees for I-129 and I-140 filings. Currently, employers pay a $460 fee for every required I-129 form and I-140 form. The proposed rule would increase the cost to $780 and tack on a new $600 fee for each application to fund the unrelated asylum program. USCIS would also increase the H-1B visa cap lottery pre-registration fee from $10 to $215.
Roberts stated, “These additional fees will significantly impact IT and engineering staffing firms, which file for status changes for a new job site more often than other employers. U.S.-based IT staffing firms place consultants on IT projects at different clients. IT projects are, by their nature, of limited duration. Given the role of IT and engineering staffing firms in shifting talent to where and when it is needed, the proposed fee increase for every change of status would have a significant adverse impact on these firms.”
TechServe’s comments align with the U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy position; 84% of TechServe’s members qualify as small businesses. SBA argued that USCIS failed to accurately account for the Rule’s financial impact on small businesses, would significantly increase fees without evidence of actual costs, and proposed new fees to fund programs unrelated to H-1B visas solely based on employers’ perceived ability to pay.
The 2023 Proposed Fee Rule would impact various USCIS-facilitated immigration services, from naturalization and DACA to genealogy documents to nonimmigrant employment H-1B visa programs. TechServe’s comments were limited to those provisions increasing H-1B visa program fees and the disproportional impact on IT and engineering staffing firms. To review other comments and for more information, visit regulations.gov.