Visa Fees Hurt Infosys, Wipro Stocks

After witnessing a fairly rosy period over the past few months, the Indian information technology services sector is faced with an unpleasant situation: higher U.S. visa fees.

The U.S. Senate late Thursday passed legislation that requires all companies with employees in the U.S. that have more than half their U.S.-based employees on H1-B or L-1 visas to pay thousands of dollars in new fees for each worker. The measure is attached to a $600 million border-security spending bill.

If the bill becomes a law, it would make on-site resources for Indian software exporters much costlier. Brokerage CLSA said on an average it costs about $2,000 to get an H-1B/L visa currently and the bill proposes an additional fee of $2,000-$2,500 per visa as filing and fraud prevention and detection fees.

Som Mittal, president of Indian technology industry trade group Nasscom, says Indian companies could be looking at $200 million to $250 million in higher human-resources costs, the WSJ has reported.

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