H-1B visa bill tabled: It’s difficult to replace Americans with Indian I-T workers

The H1-B reform bill calls for more than doubling the minimum salary of H-1B vjsa holders to $130,000 among other things.
The High-Skilled Integrity and Fairness Act of 2017 or the H-1B reform bill has been introduced in the US House of Representatives. It will make it harder for IT companies to hire Indian employees.(AP)
The High-Skilled Integrity and Fairness Act of 2017 or the H-1B reform bill has been introduced in the US House of Representatives. It will make it harder for IT companies to hire Indian employees.(AP)
Updated on Jan 31, 2017 04:51 PM IST
Copy Link
PTI, Washington | By

A legislation has been introduced in the US House of Representatives which among other things calls for more than doubling the minimum salary of H-1B visa holders to $130,000, making it difficult for firms to use the programme to replace American employees with foreign workers, including from India.

The High-Skilled Integrity and Fairness Act of 2017 introduced by California Congressman Zoe Lofgren prioritises market based allocation of visas to those companies willing to pay 200% of a wage calculated by survey, eliminates the category of lowest pay, and raises the salary level at which H-1B dependent employer are exempt from non displacement and recruitment attestation requirements to greater than $ 130,000.

This is more than double of the current H-1B minimum wage of $ 60,000 which was established in 1989 and since then has remained unchanged.

“My legislation refocuses the H1-B programme to its original intent – to seek out and find the best and brightest from around the world, and to supplement the US workforce with talented, highly-paid, and highly-skilled workers who help create jobs here in America, not replace them,” said Lofgren.

“It offers a market-based solution that gives priority to those companies willing to pay the most. This ensures American employers have access to the talent they need, while removing incentives for companies to undercut American wages and outsource jobs,” he said.

Lofgren said it removes the ‘per country’ cap for employment based immigrant visas so that all workers are treated more fairly and to move to a system where employers hire the most skilled workers without regard to national origin.

It raises the salary level at which H1-B dependent employer are exempt from attestation requirements to a new required wage level of 35 percentile points above the median national annual wage for Computer and Mathematical Occupations published by the Department of Labour Occupational Employment Statistics (roughly $132,000), which would be adjusted in the future without the need for new legislation, and eliminates the Master’s Degree exemption for dependent employers.

The legislation sets aside 20 per cent of the annually allocated H1-B visas for small and start-up employers (50 or fewer employers) to ensure small businesses have an opportunity to compete for high-skilled workers, while still protecting against outsourcing.

It among other things removes visa hurdles for students and other temporary visa holders by building a bridge from F-1 student status to Lawful Permanent Residence and removes paperwork burdens by streamlining H1-B filing requirements and reducing administrative costs.

The legislation tightens employee protection by stipulating that employers may not reduce beneficiary wages, regardless of whether the deduction is in accordance with a voluntary authorisation by the employee.

It makes exceptions for taxes, garnishments, and deductions that are reasonable and customary in the occupation.

In related development, Senator Sherrod Brown has announced to introduce H1-B and L-1 Visa Reform Act in the Senate which he said would close loopholes in the H1-B and L-1 visa programs and provide increased protections for both American workers and visa holders.

“We need to crack down on the fraud and abuse that allows corporations to avoid paying Americans fair wages and exploit foreign workers,” said Brown.

“During his campaign, President Trump promised to increase oversight of our H1-B and L-1 visa programs and reform starts with this bipartisan legislation to ensure that American businesses are giving American workers a fair shot at good-paying jobs,” he said.

The bill would require that employers first offer a vacant position to an equally or better qualified American worker before seeking an H1-B or L-1 visa holder. It would also establish wage requirements for L-1 workers and improve H1-B wage requirements to encourage companies to hire qualified American workers and prevent them from using foreign workers as a source of cheap labour.

Under the H1-B and L-1 Visa Reform, the Department of Labor (DOL) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would have additional oversight authority to investigate fraud and abuse as well as to increase penalties for companies that violate the bill’s requirements.

The bill also requires DOL and DHS to share information so that visa petitions are effectively scrutinised.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close Story
QUICKREADS

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • Canada bans luxury goods trade with Russia, punishes more oligarchs (REUTERS)

    Canada bans luxury goods trade with Russia, punishes more oligarchs

    Canada announced Friday a ban on trade in luxury goods with Russia, and added 14 more Russian oligarchs and other associates of President Vladimir Putin to its sanctions list imposed over the invasion of Ukraine. The ban aligns with similar measures imposed by allies such as the United States and the European Union, and "will help to mitigate the potential for Russian oligarchs to circumvent restrictions in other luxury goods markets," the government said.

  • The UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet will begin her long-anticipated visit to China on May 23, including to the Xinjiang region where authorities stand accused of widespread violations. (AFP)

    UN rights chief to visit China next week, travel to Xinjiang

    The UN human rights Michelle Bachelet's six-day China visit -- the first since 2005 -- beginning Monday will include a trip to the northwestern Chinese province of Xinjiang, where China has been accused of human rights violations. Bachelet will be in China between May 23 and 28 during which she will visit Urumqi and Kashgar in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region and the southern province of Guangzhou.

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin attends the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) summit at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia May 16, 2022. (Sputnik/Sergei Guneev/Pool via REUTERS)

    Russia to cut gas to Finland, days after Nordic country applies for NATO seat

    Russian supply of natural gas to Finland will be cut on Saturday morning, Finnish and Russian energy companies said Friday, after the Nordic country refused to pay supplier Gazprom in rubles. Gazprom Export, the exporting arm of Russian gas giant Gazprom, said it had not received payment for gas supplied in April and would therefore halt deliveries from Saturday. Gazprom Export said it would defend its interests in court by any "means available".

  • A woman and her grandson carry an empty cylinder as they arrive to stand in a queue to buy domestic gas at a distribution centre, amid the country's economic crisis, in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

    India sends another consignment of food, medicines to crisis-hit Sri Lanka

    India has sent additional aide to economic crisis-hit neighbour Sri Lanka which will reach Colombo on Sunday, the Indian high commission in Sri Lanka tweeted. “People of #India, standing by their brethren in #SriLanka. Rice, milk powder and medicines worth more than SLR 2billion is scheduled to reach #Colombo on Sunday. The consignment was flagged off from #Chennai by CM of Tamil Nadu @mkstalin on Wednesday,” the Indian mission posted on its Twitter handle.

  • Elon Musk

    Elon Musk visits Brazil's Bolsonaro to discuss Amazon rainforest plans

    Tesla and SpaceX chief executive officer Elon Musk met with Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro on Friday to discuss connectivity and other projects in the Amazon rainforest. Read: Twitter board says it plans to 'enforce' Musk merger agreement Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon has surged under Bolsonaro, reaching its highest annual rate in more than a decade, according to official data from the national space agency.

SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Friday, May 20, 2022