Many employers in California are able to recruit qualified foreign workers to their companies using H-1B and L-1 employment-based visas. On Dec. 18, a new act was signed into law that has made H-1B and L-1 visas much more expensive for employers. The Consolidated Appropriations Act applies to companies that employ at least 50 workers in the United States, over half of which hold H-1B or L non-immigrant status.
Employers affected by the Consolidated Appropriations Act are now obligated to pay an extra $4,000 fee for H-1B petitions and an extra $4,500 fee for L-1 petitions. The additional fee must be paid with the initial petition for non-immigrant status and when an employee with H-1B or L-1 status is seeking authorization to change employers.
Fees that were already required for H-1B and L-1 petitions are still required. Some of the existing fees for H-1B and L-1 petitions are the base processing fee, the American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act fee, the premium processing fee and the Fraud Prevention and Detection fee. Not all employers will be obligated to pay the new fees. A Request for Evidence form can be submitted by employers that wish to determine which of the new fees apply to their visa petitions.
Companies that have operations in multiple countries sometimes wish to transfer their best foreign employees to management positions in the United States. An immigration attorney may be able to help a company with this effort by determining which employees are eligible for employment visas. If a foreign employee’s initial visa period is coming to an end, an attorney may be able to help petition for a visa extension or a change in immigration status.