10 May 2016
India on Wednesday said that it will ask the United States to withdraw a hike in H-1B and L-1 visa fees as it is affecting the competitiveness of India’s IT industry.
In March, India dragged the US to WTO’s dispute settlement body against the latter’s measures to hike fees on certain applicants for L-1 and H-1B categories. Both the countries are going to hold consultations at the WTO on May 11 and 12.
The request for consultations is the first step in a dispute at the dispute settlement system of the WTO. If consultations fail to resolve the dispute, the complainant may request the Dispute Settlement Body to establish a panel of experts to study the dispute.
The government said that it hopes that United States will constructively engage with India to address its concerns regarding recent US measures which impair the ability of both US-based Indian companies and Indian professionals to supply services in the US. “They also run counter to the basic principles of a transparent and predictable trading environment,” the government said.
Almost all Indian IT companies are paying between USD 8,000 and USD 10,000 per H-1B visa and around USD 4500 for L1 visa. In addition to all these, most of the companies pay between USD 1,000 to USD 2,000 as attorney fee for filing the H-1B visa application fee. The visa application fee is non-refundable.