(VitalNews.org) – For over 100 years, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) department has been tasked with the job of processing immigrants in America and providing a pathway to citizenship for those who lawfully seek it. Within the entity, there are varying expenses people must pay to obtain visas, green cards, and other immigration services. For those who are seeking asylum, low-income, or facing another listed situation, the USCIS also has a fee-waiver program for processing. In order to continue offering that particular service and keep many application fees at their current rates, the government proposed raising costs for some services, including those for work visas.
The New Proposal
Instead of adding a fee to the asylum application process for those seeking legal entry into the United States, the USCIS proposed increasing the cost to employers looking to sponsor immigrants with work visas for permanent or temporary residency. The department believes companies are better able to bear the brunt of a higher rate than those seeking to enter the country under the asylum program. As such, the organization would like to add a $600 fee for those employers and use that money to fund the asylum service.
The new fee schedule increases many prices for processing — at least one by as much as over 2,000%. According to a report from CBS News, employment-based pre-registration fees would jump from $10 to $215, petitioning for a nonimmigrant worker would increase from $460 to $780, and sponsoring some temporary workers could cost over $1,000. Rich investors looking to make America their home would have to shell out over $11,000 to apply, if the schedule goes through unchanged.
Not every fee in the proposal would increase, however; some would stay the same and others would decrease. For instance, actions like replacing cards would hold a decreased rate, as would applying for some travel documents and requests for genealogy records.
Impact on Immigration
According to USCIS, the new schedule would help the department speed up the application and request processes, prevent backlogs, and cover the costs the entity requires to function. USCIS Director Ur Jaddou said that enacting the proposal would help the group better manage its workload, improve its service interactions with customers, and assist in “rebuild[ing] the legal immigration system.” It would also allow the agency to hire more workers to carry the load.
The departmental notification said USCIS will be collecting feedback and hosting an engagement session on the matter on January 11.
What do you think of the government’s proposal?
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