Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma on Tuesday termed the US government’s proposal to increase visa fee as discriminatory and said it would erode the competitiveness of Indian firms, costing them an additional $ 200 million (about Rs 920 crore) annually.
“The Bill will have an (estimated) additional cost implication of over $200 million annually and an adverse impact on the competitiveness and commercial interests of Indian companies,” Sharma said in a letter to US Trade Representative Ron Kirk.
The US Senate last week approved a substantial increase in application fees for H1-B and L-1 visas, under which most software and information technology professionals work in the US.
The increase is aimed at creating a $600 million (Rs 2,700 crore) fund for improving security along the Mexican border.
“Though the need of the US government to strengthen their border security is understandable, it is inexplicable to our companies to bear the cost of such a highly discriminatory law.”
The Bill will impact primarily companies of Indian origin, which account for less than 12 per cent of the total visas issued by the US.