H1B Visa Should Focus On Skills? New Bill Proposed For Skill-Based H1B Visa Only
The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to hire foreign workers in speciality occupations that require a high level of theoretical or technical expertise. Technology companies based in the US depend on this visa to hire tens of thousands of employees each from countries like India and China each year.
The H-1B visa programme is the most in-demand work visa among foreign professionals, including Indians. The H-1B and L-1 Visa Reform Act is aiming to reduce visa fraud and abuse, provide protection to American workers and visa holders, and will require more transparency regarding the recruitment of foreign workers, the senators said.
Who introduced the Reform Act?
The Visa Reform Act was introduced by Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Senator Chuck Grassley, Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. The legislation is being co-sponsored by Senators Richard Blumenthal, Tommy Tuberville, Sherrod Brown, Bill Hagerty, and Bernie Sanders.
The H-1B and L-1 Visa Reform Act will require US Citizenship and Immigration Services to prioritise the annual allocation of H-1B visas. The new system is going to ensure that the best and brightest STEM advanced degree students educated in the United States are given preference for the H-1B visa, and will also prioritise other US advanced degree holders, who are being paid highly, and those with valuable skills. STEM careers means careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.
Restrictions made by the legislation
The legislation very clearly prohibits the replacement of American workers with H-1B or L-1 visa holders and clarifies that the working conditions of similarly employed American workers should not be detrimentally affected by the hiring of an H-1B worker, this includes H-1B workers who have been placed by another employer at the American worker’s worksite, a media release said. This bill will also specifically prohibit companies who have more than 50 employees, half of whom are H-1B or L-1 holders, from hiring any more H-1B employees.
US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on Monday announced that they had received the adequate number of petitions needed to reach the congressionally mandated 65,000 H-1B visa regular cap and the 20,000 H-1B visa US advanced degree exemption which is known as the master’s cap, for the year of 2022.