The stimulus bill approved by Congress on Friday includes a provision that in effect bars banks and other firms that receive bailouts from hiring foreigners under a visa category for highly skilled workers called H-1B.
Indians get the largest chunk of H-1B visas. A large number of visas are issued in technology-related areas.
Senator Bernie Sanders said bailed-out firms would have to hire only Americans for two years, unless they prove that foreign workers are not replacing laid-off Americans.
“Because banks have announced mass lay-offs, the measure would
effectively place a moratorium on the H-1B visa programme for them,” Sanders said in a statement.
Besides banks, the restriction applies to other firms that receive funds under the Troubled Asset Relief Programme or emergency loans.
“The stimulus bill looks helpful but is counterproductive when it restricts the financial industry’s access to top-flight global talent who can help create jobs for US workers,” American Immigration Lawyers Association President Charles H. Kuck said.