Report on $3 Billion in H1B Employer Fees

A March 29, 2011 report revealed that U.S. employers have paid more than three billion dollars in H1B filing fees over the past decade. This is reported by the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP) at Familiar to many H1B employers / sponsors, there are two separate H1B filing fees that, as described below, are used by the U.S. government to fund training programs and anti-fraud initiatives.

Training and Scholarship Component of H1B Fees

The American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act (ACWIA) established what is commonly referred to as the “training fee.” This fee is currently set at a level of $1500 for companies with more than 25 employees; the fee is reduced to $750 for companies with 25 employees or fewer. This payment must accompany most H1B petitions. The amount collected, totaling more than $2.3 billion between fiscal years 2000 and 2011, is used for funding training and scholarships for U.S. workers. The report cites a statistic from the National Science Foundation (NSF) that a portion of these funds has been used for 58,000 college scholarships for U.S. students in the fields of science and math.

Anti-Fraud Component of H1B Fees

The L-1 and H1B Visa Reform Act, established a $500 fee to be utilized for fraud prevention and detection. This fee must be paid with the initial H1B or L-1 petition filed by an employer. The report states that $772 million has been generated since the initiation of this fee. The funds are utilized by the U.S. Department of State (DOS), U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in fraud detection initiatives.

U.S. Economy Benefits from H1B Program Fees

As there are ongoing hearings and debates in Congress over the H1B program, the fees charged to employers, measured in billions, should be given some weight. These fees are used for purposes far beyond simply covering government costs in processing H1B petitions. U.S. workers benefit by training and scholarships. A wide variety of fraud initiatives began and grew once the $500 anti-fraud fee funds were available for supporting these efforts. These heavy costs to U.S. employers further illustrate the genuine need for the highly-skilled, professional H1B workers, as their hiring comes with benefits for the U.S. economy and the U.S. population.

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Disclaimer: The information provided here is of a general nature and may not apply to any specific or particular circumstance. It is not to be construed as legal advice nor presumed indefinitely up to date.