Australians to Face 3000% Visa Fee Hike for E1 and E2 Visas

As part of the Trump administration’s approach to making immigration policies stricter, there have been several fee increases affecting different types of US visa. Visas that impact non- immigrant workers have been a big focus of these increase and now it has been announced that Australian citizens face an astronomical visa fee increase of 3000%!

The increase impacts workers that are applying for E1 and E2 visas, with the fee going from just $105 up to $3,574. E1 and E2 visas are for treaty traders and investors and it is not just Australian citizens that are being hit by the huge fee hike; France, Israel and the Netherlands have also seen fee increases of this proportion.

L1 and L2 visa fees for Australians have also been increased significantly, rising from $150 to $1,790. The L type visas affect people that are transferring within a company from another office around the world to the US office. The fee increases are expected to encourage US based companies to hire more US workers and fits into Trump’s ‘Buy American, Hire American’ ethos.

This will obviously hit businesses quite hard, especially businesses that have large bases in both Australia and the US , where the transferring of employees is integral to the development of the business. Another change that is expected is the vetting of companies that are E2 registered, to make the process stricter. Onsite visits to companies are expected to increase, along with more paperwork to fill in and evidence to be provided.

This follows on from changes to F1 or F2 and R1 visas and is just another element of Trump’s plans to tighten up immigration and travel policies in the US. The recent travel ban update has already caused great concern for citizens from the countries affected, with particular shock that Nigeria has been included in the ban.

Other plans include increasing the fee to apply for citizenship through naturalization, which is planned to go from $640 to $1,170. Petitions for employment authorization is due to increase by 20%.

Changes to H-1B visas also come into effect, with a $10 fee for every candidate payable by the company, which are mostly IT professionals from India. It is also expected that rejection rates for these companies will rise and will have a huge impact on some of the biggest global tech companies.

There are also plans to redefine the definition of specialty occupation, to make it harder for these roles to be filled with foreign employees. It is highly expected that Trump will continue to push major changes in the lead up to the presidential election on November 3 2020 and the only hope for the families affected by the strict changes Trump has imposed is that a Democrat is successful in the election and removes or changes some of the more controversial changes that have happened over the last three years. Up until then, there is likely to be a raft of policy changes and fee increases.

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