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Legislation introduced in US Senate to reform and stop the abuse of the H-1B visa system

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H-1B Visa System: Seeking to comprehensively overhaul the H-1B and L-1 visa programs, a bipartisan group of influential senators has presented legislation in the US Senate, which they argued will safeguard American workers and a crackdown on foreign outsourcing organizations that exploit these famous visa programs to deny qualified Americans of high-skilled jobs.

The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to use foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. Technology companies depend on it to recruit a huge number of employees every year from nations like India and China.

The H-1B visa program is the most sought-after work visa among foreign professionals, including Indians. The L-1 visa is a non-immigrant visa for work in L-1 status. It is valid for a somewhat short amount of time.

The H-1B and L-1 Visa Reform Act will lessen fraud and abuse. Also, provide protections to American workers and visa holders. And require more transparency in the recruitment of foreign workers, the senators said.

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 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 prioritize for the first time the yearly allocation of H-1B visas. The new H-1B Visa system would guarantee that the best and brightest STEM advanced degree students are educated in the United States. To get a preference for an H-1B visa and focus on different US advanced degree holders. For those being paid a high wage, and those with valuable skills.

H-1B visa system

The legislation expressly prohibits the replacement of American workers. By H-1B or L-1 visa holders explains that the working conditions of similarly employed American workers may not be adversely affected by the recruiting of an H-1B worker. Including H-1B workers who have been put by another employer at the American worker’s worksite, a media release said.

“Reforming the H-1B and L-1 visa programs is a critical part to fixing America’s broken immigration system,” Durbin said. “For years, outsourcing organizations have utilized legal loopholes to displace qualified American workers, exploit foreign workers, and facilitate the outsourcing of American jobs. Further, our legislation would fix these broken projects, safeguard workers, and shut down these abuses,” he said.

“Congress made the H-1B and L-1 visa programs to complement America’s high-skilled workforce, not replace it. Unfortunately, a few organizations are attempting to exploit the programs by cutting American workers for cheaper labor. However, we need programs dedicated to putting American workers first,” Grassley said.

“When skilled foreign workers are needed to satisfy the needs of our labor market. We should also guarantee that visa candidates who honed their skills at American colleges and universities are a priority over the importation of more foreign workers. Our bill finds a way to guarantee that the programs work for Americans and skilled foreign workers alike,” he added.

As per the senators, the legislation will target outsourcing organizations that import enormous quantities of H-1B and L-1 workers. Also, for temporary training purposes only to send the workers back to their home countries to do the same job.

H-1B and L-1 visa programs

In particular, the bill would prohibit companies with more than 50 workers. Of which at least half are H-1B or L-1 holders, from recruiting extra H-1B employees. The bill gives the US Department of Labor enhanced authority to review, investigate, and audit employer compliance with program requirements. As well as to penalize fraudulent or abusive conduct.

It requires the production of extensive statistical information about the H-1B and L-1 programs. Moreover, it includes wage data, worker education levels, place of employment, and gender.

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Also, the H-1B and L-1 Visa Reform Act includes a few changes of the L-1 visa program, including the foundation of a wage floor for L-1 workers; authority for the US Department of Homeland Security to investigate, audit, and enforce compliance with the L-1 program requirements; assurance that intra-company transfers happen between legitimate parts of an organization and don’t include “shell” offices; and a change to the definition of “specialized knowledge” to guarantee that L-1 visas are reserved only for truly key personnel, the media release said.

US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on Monday declared that it has gotten a sufficient number of petitions. Also, needed to reach the congressionally mandated 65,000 H-1B visa regular cap and the 20,000 H-1B visa. US advanced degree exemption, known as the master’s cap, for fiscal year (FY) 2022.

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