Monday, April 3, 2023

H-1B and L-1 visa reform legislation was introduced in the US Senate

Bill to reform H-1B and L-1 visa programmes introduced in US Senate


WASHINGTON: To completely overhaul the H-1B and L-1 visa programs and bring about greater transparency in the hiring of foreign workers, influential lawmakers have introduced bipartisan legislation in the US Senate.

The H-1B visa is a non-migrant visa that permits US organizations to utilize unfamiliar laborers in speciality occupations that require hypothetical or specialized skill. It is essential for technology companies to hire tens of thousands of workers annually from nations like China and India.

The L-1 is the other kind of work visa that professionals who want to work in the United States can get.

The L-1 visa is issued to individuals who are already employed by the company in another country and are merely relocating to an American office, in contrast to the H-1B visa, which is issued to individuals who are seeking to join an American company.

This piece of legislation has been introduced in the US Senate by two influential Senators, Dick Durbin and Chuck Grassley.

Senators Bernie Sanders, Sherrod Brown, and Richard Blumenthal are among the co-sponsors.

According to a Tuesday press release, the H-1B and L-1 Visa Reform Act will require greater transparency in the recruitment of foreign workers, provide protections for American workers and visa holders, and reduce fraud and abuse in the immigration system. According to the legislation, employers seeking to hire L-1 and H-1B workers and employers seeking to hire H-1B employees will be required to post those jobs on the Department of Labor (DOL) website in addition to meeting new wage, recruitment, and attestation requirements.

It likewise proposes to give DOL the position to put an expense on work condition applications and use it to enlist 200 extra DOL representatives and make changes to the H-1B program by focusing on the H-1B visa issuance for laborers with more elevated levels of training in STEM and revising the meaning of a "specialty occupation" to require a four year certification or higher, as per the delivery.

The legislation aims to make changes to the L-1 nonimmigrant visa program. Some of the changes include mandating the cooperation of the Department of State in verifying foreign affiliates and adding new time limits and evidentiary requirements for petitions from a "new office."

According to Democratic Party Senator Durbin, "for years, outsourcing companies have used legal loopholes to displace qualified American workers and replace them with foreign workers who are paid subpar wages and put in exploitative working conditions." All employees are harmed by these actions, which make our nation less appealing to talent from around the world. He elaborated, "Our legislation would fix these broken programs, protect workers, and end these abuses."

According to Grassley, a Republican, the H-1B and L-1 visa programs were created to supplement America's high-skilled workforce, not replace it.

Sadly, some businesses have taken advantage of these programs to replace American workers with cheaper foreign workers, which ultimately hurts both American and foreign workers. He stated, "Our bill ensures that the programs promote fairness for all workers and places American workers first."

The legislation was first introduced in 2007 by Durbin and Grassley, longtime supporters of reforming the H-1B and L-1 visas.

The H-1B and L-1 Visa Reform Act, according to its authors, would close loopholes in these programs to prevent abuses.

According to the media release, the legislation will also penalize businesses that employ a large number of H-1B and L-1 workers to replace American workers and facilitate the outsourcing of American jobs.

A string of recent layoffs at companies like Google, Microsoft, and Amazon has resulted in the loss of employment for thousands of highly skilled foreign-born workers in the United States, including Indians.

Since November of last year, nearly 200,000 IT workers have been laid off, according to The Washington Post.

According to industry insiders, between 30% and 40% of them are Indian IT professionals, many of whom hold H-1B and L1 visas.

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