H1B visa reform bill introduced in US
Named ‘The High-Skilled Integrity and Fairness Act of 2017’, the bill eliminates the category of lowest pay and hikes the salary level at which H-1B dependent employers are exempted from non displacement and recruitment attestation requirements to higher than USD 130,000.
“My legislation refocuses the H-1B programme to its original intent, to 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 in America, not replace them,” said a senior Congressman after introducing the Bill.
He added that the new regulations in the bill nullifies the ‘per country’ cap and all the employment based immigrant visa holders will be treated fairly irrespective of their national origin.
The bill put forwards a condition that employers must first offer a job to an equally or better qualified American before seeking an H-1B or L-1 visa holder. Raising the minimum wage would encourage firms to hire qualified American workers instead of cheap foreign workforce.
The new H-1B and L-1 Visa Reform empowers the Department of Labor (DOL) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) with additional authority to investigate and penalize the firms that violate the bill’s requirements.
The legislation reserves 20 per cent of the annually allocated H-1B visas for start-ups and small firms, having 50 or fewer employees, to ensure small companies have a chance to compete for high-skilled labor.