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US lawmakers for H-1B hiring ban for cos seeking Govt money

world Updated: Feb 07, 2009 07:34 IST

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An amendment seeking to bar US companies, which receive federal bailout money, from hiring H-1B visa holders has been introduced in the Senate, a move likely to impact Indian IT professionals if it is approved.

The amendment in the US legislature has been co-sponsored by the Republican Senator from Iowa, Chuck Grassley and the Senator Bernie Sanders from Vermont.

Indian IT professionals, who have been the major beneficiaries of the American H-1B visa programme, could be adversely impacted if the amendment is approved by the Senate.

Introducing the amendment in the Senate, Sanders said: "It is essentially saying that there would be a suspension of H-1B programme of any institution, which would be receiving TARP (Troubled Assets Relief Programme) funds for just one year."

"I firmly believe that companies going through layoffs that employ H-1B visas (holding workers) have a moral obligation to protect American workers by putting them first during these difficult times," Sanders stressed while seeking bi-partisan support for his amendment.

Sanders also quoted a recent media report that said that the American banking industry had requested for more than 21,000 visas for foreign guest workers over the last six years.

"Hiring American workers for limited available jobs should be a top priority for businesses taking taxpayer money through the TARP program," Senator Grassley said, adding if banks are going to be getting American taxpayer money than they should be hiring American workers.