US Senators Introduce Bill to Stop H-1B, L1 Visa Hiring; End Of American Dream For Many?
Two US Senators from different political ideologies have together proposed a bill which can signal death knell for Indian IT firms in US, and can potentially kill ‘American Dream’ of thousands of non-Americans from all over the globe.
The ‘H-1B and L-1 Visa Reform Act of 2016’ proposed by Democratic Congressman Bill Pascrell from New Jersey and Republican Dana Rohrabacher from California suggests ban of hiring based on H-1B and L-1 if certain conditions are met. And these conditions have been programmed to make it literally impossible for any firm to hire non-Americans for any type of job.
Interestingly, these two US senators belong to areas which are heavily dominated by Indians; and some of the largest labor and workers’ organizations such as The American Federation of Labour and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) have approved of this bill.
Aimed at protecting the interests of American workers, ‘H-1B and L-1 Visa Reform Act of 2016’ bill has been tabled in the House of Representatives as a legislation, which will need the Senate’s approval before being presented to President Obama.
What Does This Bill Proposes?
– If any company based in America has more than 50 employees and if they have employed more than 50% of employees via H-1B or L-1 visa, then they can’t hire any employees using H-1B or L-1 visa. This single condition can ban all Indian IT firms from employing any Indian worker under these visas.
– Employers would be mandated to ‘make good faith effort’ to first recruit American workers before using H-1B or L-1 for bringing in foreign employees
– Employers would be prohibited from replacing American workers or giving preferences to H-1B or L-1 visa holders during recruitment
– Departments of Homeland Security and Labour to be provided more power and authority to take action against H-1B or L-1 visa holders
– H-1B or L-1 visa holders would be provided with a list of rights so that they can be protected against mistreatment and exploitation
– Penalties for those employers who violate these rules, and more transparency in recruitment and hiring of non-American workers under H-1B or L-1 visas.
– The bill also proposes several modifications on the pay structure of these H-1B or L-1 visa holders, if they are employed by non-American companies based in USA
Congressman Pascrell, who proposed this bill said, “Without the critical reforms our bill proposes, American workers will continue to be unfairly displaced and visa workers will continue to be mistreated — both of which are unacceptable,”
Whereas IEEE president Peter Eckstein said, “It is more than clear that the H-1B and L-1 visa programs are being used by major companies across our economy to hire cheap, disposable workers in place of their American employees,”
Why This Is Bad News For Indian IT Firms?
India has been one of the major recipients of H-1B visa as well as Green card approvals in USA; and Indian IT firms such as Infosys, Cognizant, TCS and more are the biggest recruiters under H-1B and L-1 visa.
Last year, a bill was introduced to reduce H-1B visa approvals, and the industry was shaken with the possibilities. Doubling of H-1B and L-1 visa fees was declared as catastrophic as revenue loss of Rs 26,000 crore was estimated.
We can we well imagine the consequences if the new ‘H-1B and L-1 Visa Reform Act of 2016’ is passed, which will actually stop Indian firms from hiring any more employees under these visas.
We will keep you updated as we receive more news.