Visa fees hiked

February 18, 2005

The waning number of international scholars appointed to jobs at US universities may fall even further after a new law makes hiring them more expensive, writes John Marcus, in Boston.

Changes to the H-1B visa programme, which take effect in March, will require universities to pay international academic staff the same wage they pay American employees in similar jobs.

Previously, they were allowed to pay foreign staff 95 per cent of the prevailing wage.

The universities will also face a new fee of $500 (£267) for every visa application. The money will be used to fund efforts to root out fraud.

It comes on top of a $1,000 charge to process a visa.

The costs are expected to discourage the hiring of international workers, whose ranks have already thinned because of stringent new application regulations. Some 20,000 H-1B employment visas are being made available for international graduates.

Details at www.uscis.gov

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