Bill Introduced in U.S. to Eliminate Abuse of H1B Visa Programme

Tuesday, 19 March 2013, 22:24 IST
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WASHINGTON: A top American Senator has introduced a legislation that he claims is aimed at eliminating fraud and abuse of the H-1B visa programme, but provisions of which would make it tougher for Indian-Americans to get this popular work visa.

Among other things, the H-1B and L-1 Visa Reform Act of 2013 ensures that an H-1B application filed by an employer that employs 50 or more US workers will not be accepted unless the employer attests that less than 50 per cent of the employer's workforce are H-1B and L visa holders.

The legislation, introduced by Senator Chuck Grassley, Ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, makes reforms to increase enforcement, modify wage requirements and ensure protection for visa holders and American workers.

"Somewhere along the line, the H-1B programme got side-tracked. The programme was never meant to replace qualified American workers, but it was instead intended as a means to fill gaps in highly specialised areas of employment. When times are tough, like they are now, it's especially important that Americans get every consideration before an employer looks to hire from abroad," Grassley said.

"The legislation will benefit the American worker, while still ensuring that US companies get the specialised workers they need," he added.

The H-1B and L-1 Visa Reform Act requires all companies to make a good faith effort to hire Americans first; requires prospective H-1B employers to list available positions on a Department of Labor sponsored website for a period of 30 days prior to petitioning for foreign labor; prohibits employers from advertising only to H-1B visa holders and prohibits companies from outsourcing visa holders to other companies.

A waiver is provided for companies that can attest that they have not displaced a US worker, and if it is not a "labor for hire" arrangement.

Source: PTI
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