US tech companies sue Citizenship and Immigration Services for $350 mn

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on January 27, 2020

The H-1B visa programme is the main vehicle through which US employers can sponsor skilled foreign workers for admission.   -  Reuters

Case relates to filing fee and fraud prevention and detection fee charged by the US Immigration Services to 50/50 companies.

US tech companies have reportedly filed a lawsuit accusing US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) of unlawfully charging technology companies $350 million in H-1B visa fees, according to a Forbes report.

In case of a win, the plaintiffs will be able to recover millions in visa fees from the federal government.

The case has been filed by ITServe Alliance, iTech US, SmartWorks and Saxon Global. The plaintiffs will be represented by Jonathan Wasden and Bradley Banias of Wasden Banias LLC.

According to the official complaint filed by the plaintiffs in the US District Court of the District of Columbia on January 26, the companies have argued that the Immigration Services have unlawfully charged the companies over $350 million in H-1B visa fees over a period of six years.

“Plaintiffs now seek a refund. For the reasons below, this Court must set aside visa denials based on the nonpayment of this unlawful fee, enjoin the Agency from continuing to charge this fee, and refund all payment of these fees for the past 6 years,” the complaint read as quoted in the Forbes report.

The additional filing fee for 50/50 companies

The case relates to the filing fee and fraud prevention and detection fee charged by the Immigration Services to 50/50 companies.

A bill passed by the House of Representatives in 2010, which then became Public Law 111-230, stated that employers with more than 50 employees, 50 per cent of whom are non-immigrants, will be required to pay a filing fee and fraud prevention and detection fee of $2,250.

The law reads, “[D]uring the period beginning on the date of the enactment of this Act and ending on September 30, 2014, the filing fee and fraud prevention and detection fee required to be submitted with an application for admission as a nonimmigrant under Section 101(a)(15)(L) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(L)) shall be increased by 2,250 for applicants that employ 50 or more employees in the United States, if more than 50 per cent of the applicant’s employees are nonimmigrants admitted pursuant to Section 101(a)(15)(H)(i)(b) of such Act or Section 101(a)(15)(L) of such Act. “

Published on January 27, 2020

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