Expert: Most Fees For Blocked H-1B Visas Were Already Paid

Published: Tuesday, June 23, 2020 - 2:43pm
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President Trump’s expansion of an April order temporarily stops most skilled foreign workers from entering the United States. One expert says a cash-strapped, fee-reliant government agency has already received money for H-1B visas that are now blocked.

Of the handful of visas frozen by the order, Citizenship and Immigration Services gets the most money from H-1Bs, said Sarah Pierce, policy analyst for the Migration Policy Institute in Washington, D.C.

“There is a lot of U.S. employers that have paid not only fees to the government but also attorneys fees,” she said. 

The annual H-1B lottery is in the spring, which means most of those fees have already been paid. October is the earliest that new H-1B recipients can start work in the U.S. So the expanded order means that employers won’t have access to workers they’ve paid to bring here.   

“There’s no word from the government about whether they’ll be able to get their money back, but I do doubt they’ll be able to,” Pierce said.

The freeze on H-1B visas goes until Jan. 1, but it could be extended.

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