The Trinidad and Tobago Coalition of Services Industries (TTCSI) says a proposed change to regulations governing US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Fees could see people wishing to work in the United States having to pay anywhere from 33% to 137% increased fees for special permits and visas to do so.
In a media release the TTCSI says the fees hike “has enormous implications for high-skilled and cultural and creative workers in Trinidad and Tobago, as well as in the Caribbean at large.”
It says there has been a chorus of voices across the region calling on the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to halt its proposed adjustment to these fees and it is the latest to denounce the move and is calling on the US-DHS to reconsider.
According to the TTCSI, under the proposed rule, applications from employers seeking to sponsor immigrants for permanent US residency or temporary work visas would need to be filed with an additional US$600 fee, to fund the USCIS asylum program.
It says high-skilled workers—many of them in the technology sector—would see a fee jump by 70% to US$780 for H-1B visas. They also would need to pay US$215 in pre-registration fees, up from the current US$10 fee.
The TTCSI adds that fees for requests to sponsor temporary agricultural and non-agricultural workers would jump above US$1,000—increases of 137% and 135% from the current levels, respectively.
The TTCSI says it is concerned the adoption of the proposed regulations will increase the cost of doing business for all stakeholders involved and have a negative impact on a wide range of services sector industries locally and regionally.