The bill on H-1B visas has recently been reintroduced in the US Congress by 2 lawmakers who believe that this bill will be break the abuse of work visas in the country. This bill, which was initially proposed in the House of Representatives last year, focusses on restricting companies that have more than 50 employees and 50% of which are comprised of H-1B and L-1 visa holders from hiring further foreign nationals. This bill aims to encourage the recruitment of Americans in the workforce.
Proposals of the H-1B and L-1 Visa Bill
Here is what the bill proposes to do:
50-50 formulation – Companies that have over 50 employees out of which 50% are on employment visas cannot hire more foreign nationals. This bill especially targets Indian companies such as Wipro, Infosys and TCS that already have more than 50% of employees working on employment visas from hiring more Indian workers. On the other hand, companies such as Facebook, Microsoft and Google can continue hiring more foreign workers until 50% of their employee base is comprised of employment visa holders.
Visa holders to be given a list of rights – According to the bill proposed, employment visa holders will be provided with a list of rights that will protect them from any form of exploitation. The main concern of the bill is that critics of employment visas (H-1B and L-1 Visas) believe that such programs are undercutting and replacing American workers in the US. Furthermore, companies are also being accused of exploiting their employees on work visas.
Further concerns of the bill
Bill Parscrell who is a representative of the bill believes that the top users of H-1B and L-1 Visa programs are foreign outsourcing companies. However, his concern centers around how these visa programs are being used by certain companies.
Outsourcing American jobs has always been a hot debate during elections where the previous president of the United States, Barak Barrack Obama and the previous United States Secretary of State, John Kerry have spoken against it. Although the processing fees for such visas have gone up, the 85,000 cap for foreign nationals working in the US has remained constant in the last few years. Out of the 85,000, 25,000 are reserved for foreign nationals who have studied in the US.
This cap may not go up in the near future. Many Indian companies in the US are localizing their workforce. A spokesperson for TCS told ‘The Hindu’ last year that their company is among the top 3 recruiters of local IT talent for the past 5 years.
Presently, India is the biggest single country source for H-1B and L-1 visas as both, American companies as well as Indian companies operating in America, are hiring Indian professionals on such visas. Cognizant, IBM and other companies will face the worst brunt of the bill, if passed.
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