Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-N.J.) introduced the H-1B and L-1 Visa Reform Act of 2016, that would attempt to close the loopholes that allow employers to use the visas to replace American workers. The bill was co-sponsored by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.).
If passed the bill would:
• Require employers to make a good faith effort to hire Americans before bringing in foreign visa holders and would prohibit employers from replacing American workers.
• Prohibits companies who employ more than 50 people to hire H-1B workers if 50% or more of their current workforce is made up of H-1b or L-1 workers.
• Provides the DHS with more authority to investigate fraud and in abuse in these visa programs.
• Modify existing wage requirements for the H-1B visa and establish wage requirements for L-1 visa.
• Provides visa holders with a list of rights before entering the U.S. so they are better protected from mistreatment or underpaid by employers who abuse these programs.
“America is producing many skilled, high-tech professionals with advanced degrees and no jobs. By 'in-sourcing' and exploiting foreign workers, some businesses are abusing the visa programs and undercutting our workforce to reap the rewards. Without the critical reforms our bill proposes, American workers will continue to be unfairly displaced and visa workers will continue to be mistreated – both of which are unacceptable,” Rep. Pascrell said in his press release.
During a press conference on the bill, Peter Eckstein, the president of the IEEE-USA, an organization for technology professionals that represents some 200,000 engineers, said, "We're long past the point where politicians can pretend that the H-1B visa isn't costing American jobs.”
"America cannot build a high skilled workforce out of temporary workers. The long-term health of our economy requires a stable and skilled workforce, not a workforce that is hired for a few years and sent home taking the skills and job with it," he continued.
The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) have endorsed the bill.
The bill would severely limit foreign outsourcing companies, who are the main users of these visas, from sending more workers to the U.S. India has claimed that if this legislation passes they would challenge the law in international court.
Read Rep. Pascrell’s full press release here.
Updated: Thu, Jun 8th 2017 @ 3:20pm EDT