USINPAC says It will Stifle Innovation
Washington, DC: Long-term critic of the H1B visa program Sen. Bill Nelson teamed up with Sen. Jeff Sessions, in launching a bill, this Tuesday, to reduce the base cap for H-1B visas from 85,000 to 70,000 a year. Only highly specialized foreign workers in areas with few skilled American workers can apply for H-1B visas. Apart from reducing the overall cap, the new bill would also change how the visas are distributed; Employers paying the highest wages would be in the best position to of getting a visa petition approved.
Sen. Nelson, justified the proposed reforms in the bill saying, “By cutting the number of visas available each year and requiring those visas be given to the highest-wage earners first, this bill directly targets outsourcing companies that rely on lower-wage foreign workers to replace equally-qualified U.S. workers.”
In a joint statement the senators explained that the proposed bill "explicitly prohibits the replacement of American workers by H-1B or L-1 visa holders." Co-sponsors of the bill include other leading H-1B reformers, Sen. Chuck Grassley, Sen. Dick Durbin, Sen. Richard Blumenthal and Sen. Sherrod Brown.
"There's a sense of urgency here for Americans who are losing their jobs to lesser skilled workers who are coming in at lower wages on a visa program that has gotten away from its original intent. Reform of the H-1B visa program must be a priority," said Grassley.
As with a previous bill, this latest effort, "The H-1B and L-1 Visa Reform Act," will require all employers who seek to hire an H-1B worker "to first make a good faith effort to recruit American workers."
About 70% of the H-1B visas in 2014 went to workers from India, according to a report in The New York Times that cited figures from the US Department of Homeland Security.
In India, The National Association of Software and Service Companies has expressed disappointment with the proposed bill, saying that the move is detrimental to our industry. The Association has stepped up its lobbying efforts in the US and released data highlighting Indian workforce’s contribution to the US economy. However, with both the Democratic and Republican parties, in a rare show of bipartisanship, supporting the legislation, the probability of the Bill becoming a law is very high.
Vinnie Rao, a technology leader from Indiana, commented, “This is an election year, and politicians will resort to protectionism. The American success story of Google, Uber, and Microsoft is built on world class talent and creating artificial barriers on that talent will impact the speed and growth of these innovative companies.”
The US India Political Action Committee (USINPAC) is the voice of over 3.2 million Indian- Americans and works on issues that concern the community. It supports candidates for local, state and federal office and encourages political participation by the Indian- American community. Visit www.usinpac.com for more details.