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Old December 23rd, 2010, 11:27 PM
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Post Now, 9/11 safety net will be funded by hiked H1B fees

Now, 9/11 safety net will be funded by hiked H1B fees
PTI, Dec 24, 2010, 02.21am IST

WASHINGTON/NEW DELHI: A new US healthcare law related to 9/11 attacks may erode the profitability of Indian IT companies, among others, as it seeks to raise funds by continuing an increased visa fee regime for skilled workers.

The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010 seeks to create a $4.3 billion fund to provide free medical treatment to those suffering from illnesses contracted while clearing the debris at the Ground Zero in the aftermath of the 9/11 terror attack.

India slammed the move as "retrograde" and the Indian IT industry said it was disappointing that the US is levying taxes only on overseas companies to meet many of its internal funding needs.

The bill passed on Wednesday night will require an estimated budget of $4.3 billion over a 5-year period will primarily be funded by taxing goods and services sourced from contractors in countries like India, China and Thailand, which are outside the purview of WTO's Agreement on Government Procurement. It will also be funded by continuation of an increased fee on certain categories of H-1B and L1 visas that would mainly impact Indian IT companies and the continuation of a fee on some travelers to this country.

The US had hiked the visa fee in August this year to fund border security and was to be valid till 2014. It will now be in force till 2015. The previous hike was expected to cost the IT industry an additional $200 million a year in visa fee.

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