Earlier this year, Public Law 111-230 expired, which offered a reprieve for employers with more than 50 workers where at least 50% of those workers were on an H-1B visa. Public-Law 111-230 imposed an additional $2,000 USCIS filing fee for certain H-1B filings. The fee is back, and now twice the amount.
As part of the recently passed Omnibus Spending Bill, which funds the U.S. government for the following year, Congress imposed a $4,000 fee for certain H-1B filings where the employer employs 50 or more employees, and half those employees are on H-1B or L-1 visas. The bill also imposes a $4,500 fee for L-1 visa filings where more than 50% of workers are on L-1 visas or H-1Bs. The bill makes no mention of IT staffing companies, the language of the bill suggests it will have a large impact on this industry, particularly Indian out-sourcing companies. It is anticipated that the law will have little impact on most U.S.-based corporations. The fees are predicted to generate more than $1 billion each year.
Similarly to Public Law 111-230, the fees will be used to fund healthcare costs for 9/11 first responders and survivors. Public Law 111-230, or the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, expired at the end of September 2015 because Congress failed to extend the fees. 9/11 first responders, police officers, and construction workers suffering from cancers and respiratory diseases as a result of 9/11 made dozens of trips to Washington D.C. between October and December to lobby Congress to reinstate the Act. As a result of passage of the Omnibus Spending Bill, the World Trade Center Health Program, which provides medical benefits to induvial effected by 9/11, is now renewed for 75 years, until the year 2090.