In what could be seen as a setback to Indian IT professionals, the US Senate has voted for imposing strict conditions on hiring of people with H-1B visas by American companies receiving federal bailout money.
The amendment to the pending stimulus bill restricting the hiring of foreign workers, passed by the Senate through a voice vote on Friday, was a watered-down version of what was introduced earlier.
The original amendment had called for a blanket ban on H-1B hiring by companies that would have received money under the Troubled Assets Relief Programme (TRAP).
The amendment approved by the Senate was co-sponsored by Republican Senator from Iowa, Chuck Grassley, and independent Senator from Vermont, Bernie sanders.
The modified amendment requires that a company receiving TARP funds and applying for workers under the H-1B process must operate as an "H-1B dependent company."
This means, explained Grassley in a statement, that the companies will still be able to hire H-1B visa holders, but must comply with the H-1B dependent employer rules which include attesting to actively recruiting American workers; not displacing American workers with H-1B visa holders; and not replacing laid off American workers with foreign workers.