H-1B Bill Introduced in US Cong to Prioritize US-Educated Workers

The H-1B and L-1 Visa Reform Act was introduced by a bipartisan group of lawmakers in both the chambers of the US Congress on Friday, 22 May, proposing major reforms in skilled non-immigrant visa programmes by giving priority to US-educated foreign technology professionals in issuing H-1B work visas.

The Act, as introduced in House of Representatives and Senate, will require US Citizenship and Immigration Services to prioritize for the first time the annual allocation of H-1B visas.

The new system will also make sure that the best and brightest students being educated in the US receive preference for an H-1B visa – including advanced degree holders, those being paid a high wage, and those with valuable skills – proponents of this major legislative reforms said Friday.

It was introduced in the Senate by Chuck Grassley and Dick Durbin. In the House of Representatives, it was introduced by Congressmen Bill Pascrell, Paul Gosar, Ro Khanna, Frank Pallone and Lance Gooden.

The legislation, among other things, explicitly prohibits the replacement of American workers by H-1B or L-1 visa holders, clarifying that working conditions of similarly employed American workers may not be adversely affected by the hiring of an H-1B worker, including H-1B workers who have been placed by another employer at the American worker's worksite.

Apart from that, the legislation also proposes increased crackdown on outsourcing companies that import large numbers of H-1B and L-1 workers for temporary training purposes only to send the workers back to their home countries to do the same job.

Recently, the National Foundation for American Policy stated that the H-1B visa-holders, a majority of them Indian IT professionals, do not adversely affect Americans, also suggesting that the presence of foreign workforce having such visas boost employment among other workers in an occupation.

On 1 April, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) said that the US received nearly 275,000 unique registration requests for the Congressional mandated 85,000 H-1B visas for foreign technology professionals, of which more than 67 percent are from India.

(With inputs from PTI)

Also Read: FAQ: Will Trump’s Immigration Ban Affect Indians With H-1B Visas?

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