March 28, 2024

Lawsuit Challenges USCIS Fee Hikes

A recent legal challenge has been mounted against the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) over its decision to significantly hike immigration filing fees, a move that could impose considerable financial burdens on H-2A employers. The new rule, set to take effect on April 1, 2024, introduces a 15% increase for unnamed H-2A workers, raising the filing fee from $460 to $530 per petition. More strikingly, the fee for named H-2A workers will see a 137% surge, jumping from $460 to an unprecedented $1,090 per petition, with a limit of 25 named workers for each H-2A petition. Smaller entities, including businesses with 25 or fewer employees and nonprofit organizations, face a more modest increase; the fee for unnamed H-2A workers remains at $460, while named H-2A worker petitions will incur an 18% fee increase to $545 per petition. Additionally, a new $600 Asylum Program Fee will be levied on certain employment-based immigration petitions, including H-2 petitions.

The lawsuit, spearheaded by several industry groups, aims to halt the implementation of the new fees, arguing that they were established without proper rulemaking procedures and impose unjust financial burdens on specific petitioner categories.

As of this writing, the fee increases are scheduled to go into effect on April 1. As the legal proceedings unfold, a ruling is expected that could delay or modify the impending fee increases.