Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) introduced S.2266 on Tuesday that would limit the abuse of the H-1B visa, especially by bigger tech companies.
The bill comes as a response to companies such as Disney and Toys ’R’ Us laying off American workers and replacing them with cheaper, foreign workers. These stories gained national media attention when workers spoke out, explaining that in many cases they were forced to train their foreign replacements in order to receive their severance pay.
S.2266 would prohibit “the replacement of American workers by H-1B or L-1 visa holders," said the senators, in a joint statement. The bill would also limit larger IT companies from applying for H-1B visas if more than 50% of their workers are already on H-1B or L-1B visas. It would also give preference to U.S. graduates and advanced degree holders who are paid higher wages.
"The H-1B visa program was never meant to replace qualified American workers, but it was instead intended as a means to fill gaps in highly specialized areas of employment that cannot be filled by Americans," said Sen. Grassley, in a statement. "The abuse of the system is real, and media reports are validating what we have argued against for years, including the fact that Americans are training their replacements. There's a sense of urgency here for Americans who are losing their jobs to lesser skilled workers who are coming in at lower wages on a visa program that has gotten away from its original intent. Reform of the H-1B visa program must be a priority."
“Reforming the H-1B and L-1B visa programs is a critical component of fixing our broken immigration system and must be included in comprehensive immigration reform legislation,” said Sen. Durbin. “For years, foreign outsourcing companies have used loopholes in the laws to displace qualified American workers and facilitate the outsourcing of American jobs. The H-1B and L-1B Visa Reform Act would end these abuses and protect American and foreign workers from exploitation. I thank Senator Grassley for partnering with me on this important bipartisan legislation.”
The bill would also give enhanced authority to the Department of Labor to penalize fraudulent or abusive conduct as well as require the agency to keep detailed statistics on wages and education levels of visa holders.
Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) have also co-sponsored the legislation.
Read more on this story at Computerworld.com.
Updated: Thu, Jun 8th 2017 @ 3:30pm EDT