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Dear Editor:

I appreciate your reminder to practitioners of the increase in H-1B fees beginning on December 18. However, I would suggest strongly that you don't refer to the education and training fee as a "filing fee." It was very clear from the congressional debate about the fee both in 1998 and in 2000, that this fee has nothing to do with "filing" or the adjudication of a case. It is, in fact, a tax on employers who choose to sponsor foreign professionals to support federal education and training programs. (It is the fact that it was a "revenue" provision that prohibited the increase from being included in the Senate bill, since all revenue measures must, under the Constitution, originate in the House.) Employers who wonder where their "taxes" go should look closely at the AC21 provisions and then follow how well the Department of Labor and National Science Foundation are doing at improving the availability of technology-based employees in the United States. This will be a focus of future debates on the hiring of foreign employees, and employers should be prepared.

Theresa Cardinal Brown
Associate Director, Business Advocacy
American Immigration Lawyers Association