Donald Trump had promised to end the exploitation of visa programmes by many companies to undercut American employers, referring to an incident that involved Indian companies and IT professionals on H1-B visas
Bill backing key changes in H1-B visa programme that permit skilled workers from different countries to fill jobs in U.S. has been reintroduced in Congress by two lawmakers. The Bill comes after a number of companies — SoCal edison, Disney and others — have come under fire for abusing the programme.
Here is a look at the Bill and what it proposes.
What is a H1-B visa?
The H1-B visa is a non-immigrant visa granted by the United States of America to employ skilled workers from other countries for various specialized fields of occupation for a limited (which can be increased further)period of time.
What is the H1-B visa programme Bill?
– The Bill interdict companies from hiring H1-B employees if they hire more than 50 people and more than 50 per cent of their workers are H1-B and L-1 visa holders.
– The Bill cheers companies to recruit American people. This provision would crack down on outsourcing companies that import large no.s of H-1B and L-1 workers for short periods of training and then send these workers back to their home country to do the work of American people, the Senators who introduced the Bill had said.
H1-B Visa top sponsors
– It explicitly prohibits replacement of American workers by H1-B or L-1 visa holders.
– The Bill seeks to give the Department of Labor enhanced authority to review, investigate and audit employer compliance as well as to penalize fraudulent or abusive conduct.
– The Bill seeks to increase the minimum salary of H1-B visa holders to $1,30,000 per annum.
– Currently, firms need not go through extensive paperwork if the potential H1-B employee has an same as of a Master’s degree or higher and he or she is paid at least $60,000 annually. The Bill aims to do away with the Master’s degree relief (as “they are easily obtained by foreign workers”).
What is President-elect Donald Trump’s stand on the issue?
Donald Trump promised to end the exploitation of visa programmes by companies to undercut American Employers, referring to an incident that involved many Indian companies and IT professionals on H1-B visas. Mr. Trump didn’t names India or the particular visa category. However, it was clear that he was referring to HCL Inc. and Cognizant Technology Solutions that hired Indian IT professionals on H1-B visas for contracts obtained from Disney World in Orlando, Florida. “My administration will follow a simple rule — buy American, hire American. Years before we used to take pride in buying things ‘Made in America’. We love our companies, but we don’t love them when they go out of our country. There will be consequences,” Mr. Trump said at an event.
How will the Bill affect Indian companies?
The Indian IT industry thinks that this Bill does not specify the root cause of the problem – shortage of STEM skills (or those in the areas of different fields like Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) in the U.S. “There is a perception that many companies pay low wages to people who are sent to work on these visas…High-skilled IT workers on temporary visas earn competitive salaries and cost their employers as same or even more than their American counterparts. There are numerous studies which point this thing out,” said Shivendra Singh, Vice President and Head, Global Trade Development at Nasscom. Apart from the visa restrictions, the U.S. had also recently hiked the visa fee for certain categories of the H1-B and L1 visas which has had an big impact on Indian companies.