For the average person, settling into a new home in New Jersey brings with it a mix of excitement and stress. When you’re an immigrant hoping to participate in the American dream, it can be a journey that’s fraught with paperwork and rising costs., and unfortunately, that expense may be increasing for sponsoring employers and those seeking visas to work or study in the United States.
What work visas are
Work visas are legal documents that allow foreign workers to legally enter into employment contracts in the United States. Although most are temporary and apply to seasonal workers, there are visas available for permanent employees, such as technicians or academics.
Work visas are one of the legal forms of immigration. The bulk of the cost for acquiring these visas falls upon the employer and hosting organizations rather than the workers.
However, rates across the board may be increasing as the U.S. government tries to find ways to defray the rising cost of processing asylum requests as well as housing and care for those seeking refuge.
The true cost of visa fee hikes
The proposal calls for increases at certain levels by all parties involved. It breaks down like this:
• 70% increase in H1B visas for skilled workers (to $710) with filing fees paid by these workers increasing from $10 to $215
• 135% increase for sponsoring unskilled non-agricultural workers and 137% increase for temporary agricultural workers
• 33% increase in filing fees for immigrant family members (to $710)
• 35% increase for fiancées of American citizens (to $720)
In addition, the filing fee for green card holders already in the U.S. would jump 35% to $1,540. The filing fee for U.S. citizenship applications would rise to $120, a 19% hike. There is also a proposed 204% increase for foreign investors looking for permanent residency, bringing that fee to $11,160.
If fees do rise, the true cost of visas could fall on workers who are unable to enter the U.S. because of the rising cost of employment.
But, how these proposed fee increases will affect workers, their families, and employers who depend upon foreign workers remains to be seen. The rule change will need to undergo a 60-day process of public inspection and commentary before it goes to a vote.