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Fee increases for certain work visas

South Carolina businesses that employ workers from foreign countries may find the fees required for these visas to be a necessary cost for achieving their staffing goals. It is important to note that the government is increasing the fees required for some L-1 and H-1B visas. The Consolidated Appropriations Act was formalized on Dec. 18, 2015, providing for these increases as part of the legislation. The announcement of these changes was made by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services on Jan. 12, 2016.

Fees of $4,000 or greater per visa will be required in cases involving employers who have at least 50 workers in the U.S. with more than half of their workers holding L-1 or H-1B visas. This amount is separate from and in addition to other visa fees that were already in place. Although some employers might consider handling these fees for existing employees immediately to get the matter taken care of, experts recommend waiting until USCIS brings the matter up. A Request for Evidence may be issued beginning 30 days from the January announcement. This will be used to evaluate the applicability of the fees in a given case.

Employers can play a significant role in an employee's ability to obtain an employment visa, but even the leaders of a company can find the law to be complicated. When changes are announced, it is often necessary to take quick action to preserve one's right to hire foreign workers and to avoid interference with matters such as productivity.

In working to expand a company to include one or more foreign employees, a business owner might take extra fees into consideration. Legal advice might be important to ensure that proper steps are taken to identify foreign candidates for a job.

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