Visa Reform Bill Introduced in Senate To Boost Employment of US Citizens

The legislation serves to ensure that highly-qualified Americans are not deprived of high-paying jobs.

2 min read
Hindi Female

A bipartisan group of United States senators on Wednesday, 2 March, introduced a bill in the Senate pertaining to holistic reforms in the structure of H1-B and L-1 visa programmes – a move they said would protect American workers and prevent foreign outsourcing companies from exploiting visa programmes.

The H-1B and L-1 Visa Reform Act will reduce fraud and abuse, provide protections for American workers and visa holders, and require more transparency in the recruitment of foreign workers, the senators contended.

The H1-B visa, which is a non-immigrant visa, is meant for professionals with theoretical or technical expertise from foreign countries who seek employment in a US-based company.

The L-1 visa, on the other hand, is valid for a shorter duration. It allows companies to move employees working in specialised positions to the US on a temporary basis.

The legislation serves to ensure that highly-qualified Americans are not deprived of high-paying jobs.

Provisions of the Bill

The proposed reforms are meant to safeguard the interests of the best STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) degree-holders from American universities by ensuring that companies prioritise them for employment while providing visas.

The bill also seeks to ensure that American workers are not replaced by H1-B or L-1 visa holders.

It also states that the working conditions of American workers must not be negatively affected by the hiring of foreign nationals placed in the same company under the visa system.

Additionally, companies with 50 or less employees will no longer be permitted to hire additional workers under the H1-B visa system, PTI reported.

The bill was introduced by Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, Chair, Senate Judiciary Committee, and Senator Chuck Grassley. It was co-sponsored by Senators Richard Blumenthal, Tommy Tuberville, Sherrod Brown, Bill Hagerty, and Bernie Sanders.

"For years, outsourcing companies have used legal loopholes to displace qualified American workers, exploit foreign workers, and facilitate the outsourcing of American jobs. Our legislation would fix these broken programmes, protect workers, and put an end to these abuses," said Senator Durbin.

Arguing in support of the bill, Senator Tubberville said, "This legislation will crackdown on the manipulation of existing vulnerabilities to ensure employers prioritise the American worker before considering any high-skilled foreign applicants."

"If we are going to get our economy back up and running, we need to do it correctly and that begins with utilising the talent we have here at home first and foremost," he added.

(With inputs from PTI.)

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Topics:  H1-B workers   US Senate   H1-B Visa 

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