Immigration Law provisions of Recently Enacted omnibus Appropriations Bill which include Fee Increases for certain H-1B and L-1 Petitions by certain Petitioners
On December 18, 2015, the President signed into the law the omnibus Appropriations Bill for 2016. This Public Law 114-113, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016 (Act), became effective from December 18, 2015.
Some of the immigration-related issues include:
The bill extends the EB-5 Green Card Visa Programs (through investment of $1,000,000; or $500,000 in high unemployment or rural area, or Regional Center); Conrad 30 J-1 waiver program; Special Immigrant Religious Workers, and E-Verify programs through the end of FY2016;
The Act increases the H-1B and L-1 fees for certain petitions by $4000 and $4500 respectively for companies with more than 50 employees where 50% or more of the employees hold H-1B or L-1 status. The Act provides:
- the combined filing fee and fraud prevention and detection fee required to be submitted with an application for admission as H-1B, including an application for an extension, shall be increased by $4,000 for petitioners that employ 50 or more employees in the United States if more than 50 percent of the applicant’s employees are in H-1B or L1 status.
- the combined filing fee and fraud prevention and detection fee required to be submitted with an application for admission as L-1, including an application for an extension, shall be increased by $4,500 for petitioners that employ 50 or more employees in the United States if more than 50 percent of the applicant’s employees are in H-1B or L1 status.
(These increased fees must be paid on initial petitions, transfer petitions and extension petitions as well. These fees are authorized for ten years, running through September 30, 2025; and the funds generated by these fees will be split between the 9-11 programs and the Biometric Entry-Exit program.
The bill also makes certain changes to the H-2B program by providing:
- Flexibility for H-2B workers in the seafood industry regarding when they can start working;
- Use of private wage surveys;
- Definition of “seasonal” as ten months;
- Limitations on the Department of Labor’s ability to implement some aspects of the interim final rule; and
- Exempting H-2B returning workers from the 66,000 annual cap for FY2016.
Visa Waiver Program: The bill includes the House-passed bill reforming the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), which contains categorical exclusions for nationals of Syria, Iraq, Iran, and Sudan, as well as people who travel to those countries.
These legal changes are complex and require a consultation with an experienced immigration lawyer. If you have any questions, our attorneys are here to answer your questions! We can be reached by phone at 703 230 6800 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Contact us today for this and all other immigration-related issues!