Thursday, February 29, 2024

For The First Time In Seven Years, USCIS Increases Immigration And Naturalisation Costs

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A final regulation released by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services on Tuesday stipulates that employers would have to pay higher fees to sponsor employees for permanent residency and file worker applications as USCIS increases immigration and naturalisation costs.

On April 1, the new costs will become operative. The USCIS stated that it derives around 96% of its income from filing fees rather than legislative appropriations, which is the first time the fees have been raised since December 2016.

About The USCIS Increase In Immigration And Naturalisation Costs

With the announcement of the final regulation, USCIS Director Ur M. Jaddou remarked in a news statement that the increased fees will “better meet the needs of our agency, enabling us to provide more timely decisions to those we serve.” “The workforce of USCIS has made great strides in customer service, backlog reduction, implementing new processes and programmes, and upholding fairness, integrity, and respect for all we serve, despite years of inadequate funding.”

According to Forbes, employers will have little difference under the proposed regulation starting in January 2023. Advocates for senior living and care facilities stated that long-term care providers would be disproportionately impacted drastically by the USCIS proposal to raise filing fees for numerous employment-based petitions. However, USCIS stated on Tuesday that “every fee in the final rule is the same or lower than in the proposed rule.”

For H-2B petitions (seasonal, nonagricultural workers), costs for named beneficiaries will rise from $460 to $1,080 (135%). For H-2A petitions (agricultural workers), fees will increase from $460 to $1,090 (137%). Employers in small businesses and charity organisations are eligible for special price savings under this law.

According to USCIS, the final regulation also reduces the agency’s necessary yearly cost recovery by $727 million. In addition, the regulation broadens fee exemptions for the following groups: families seeking international adoption; U.S. military service personnel and our Afghan allies; special immigrant youths and victims of human trafficking, criminality, and domestic violence.

The agency said that even though the fee increases announced on Tuesday “will allow USCIS to offset overall costs better,” additional Congress funding is still required to handle the increased volume of caseloads brought on by recent border crossers fully and sustainably. This includes hiring more USCIS employees to help right-size a system that needed to be designed to handle the volume of cases that USCIS receives.

How The Increase In Immigration And Naturalisation Costs Affects Employer Fees

Employers witnessed little changes between the January 2023 proposed fee regulation and the final rule. Employers who hire highly qualified foreign nationals will pay an additional 70% for beneficiaries on H-1B petitions, 201% for workers on L-1 petitions, and 129% for persons on O-1 petitions, as per the proposed changes. (The number of H-1B, L-1, and O-1 applications rises from $460 to $780, $1,385 to $1,055, and $460 to $1,055) A comprehensive list of the new costs may be found on the USCIS website.

The proposed fee regulation would result in a $100 decrease for an I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (including biometric services) from $1,225 to $1,440.

Fees for designated beneficiaries will increase by 137% (from $460 to $1,090) for H-2A petitions (agricultural workers) and 135% (from $460 to $1,080) for H-2B petitions (seasonal, nonagricultural workers). Aditionally the you can apply for the 2023 agriculture graduate trainee program in Germany with SENCE Agric.

Investors in regional centres will see a 204% increase in the cost of their immigration petitions (from $3,675 to $11,160) and a 204% increase in the price of their petitions to remove constraints on permanent residence status (from $3,750 to $9,525).

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