Washington, September 30: A district judge in the United States has passed a preliminary injunction to stay the proposed hike in fees for visa applications, including H-1B. The hiked fees for visa applications were to come into effect from October 2. However, Judge Jeffrey White has stayed the proposed hike in fees after eight non-profit organisations challenged the Us government's move in the court. The existing fees will continue for now. H1B Visa Fee: US Hikes Visa Application Fee by $10.
Under the revised fee structure, the basic application fee for an H-1B visa was set to increase by nearly 21 percent from the existing $460 to $555. The H-1B visa is most sought-after among Indian techies. For work permits, spouses of H-1B workers (holding an H-4 dependent visa) would have had to shell out $550 after a proposed hike of 34 percent. The base filing fees for L-1 visas were to rise to $805 - a hike of 75 percent. H-1B One Workforce Training Programme: US Announces USD 150 Million for Middle-to-High-Skilled H-1B Occupations Training.
A significant increase of 83 percent was proposed in fees for applying for citizenship. This would have hiked the fee from $640 to $1,170. An asylum application fee of $50 was also introduced. The proposed fee hike for visa applications was challenged on grounds that these fees were proposed and issued under officials who were not properly appointed to their positions and therefore fee hike rules were unlawful, TOI reported.
The appointments of Chad Wolf, who is the Acting Secretary of the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Kevin McAleenan, former Acting Secretary, were questioned by petitioners. "The court found two reasons to halt the increase in the fees. The first was legally inappropriate appointment of the high-level government officials who made the decision to increase the fee. Second, it was the inability of the government to explain the need for the fees increase," Rajiv S Khanna, managing attorney at Immigraiton.com, was quoted as saying.