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Trump nominee for Attorney General promises curbs on H1B visas

Past legislations on H-1B visas have badly hit Indian IT companies.

By: PTI | Washington | Updated: January 12, 2017 1:57 pm
passport-visa-reu-759 Many US workers advocate that the layoff of American workers and the replacement by cheaper, foreign, H-1B workers constitutes de facto nationality based discrimination against American workers.

US President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for the post of Attorney General has assured lawmakers of taking steps towards pushing legislative measures to curb misuse of H-1B and L1 work visas significantly used by Indian IT professionals and allegedly replace American workers.

“It’s simply wrong to think that we’re in a totally open world and that any American with a job can be replaced if somebody in the world is willing to take a job for less pay,” Senator Jeff Sessions told members of Senate Judiciary Committee during his confirmation hearing for the position of US Attorney General.

“We have borders. We have a commitment to our citizens and you have been a champion of that. I’ve been honoured to work with you on it,” Sessions said in response to a question from Senator Charles Grassley, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

In the past both Sessions and Grassley have worked together to bring legislations on H-1B visas that badly hit Indian IT companies. The Office of Special Counsel for immigration related unfair employment practices is an office within the Justice Department which would be headed by Sessions if he is confirmed by the US Senate. The Office enforces the anti-discrimination provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

“While the office is designed to protect foreign nationals with employment visas from discrimination, it is also charged with ensuring that American workers are not discriminated against in the workplace. Many US workers advocate that the layoff of American workers and the replacement by cheaper, foreign, H-1B workers constitutes de facto nationality based discrimination against American workers,” Grassley said.

“The Obama administration has failed to protect American workers here. Will you, this is my question, will you be more aggressive in investigating the abuses of these visa programmes?” he asked. “I believe this has been an abuse. And I have been pleased to support your legislation and some others too, that others have produced that I believe could be helpful. It needs to be addressed,” Sessions said.

Describing Sessions as a vocal champion for American workers, Grassley said many American workers are being laid off and replaced by cheaper foreign labour imported through some of the US visa programmes. Sessions, Grassley and Senator Dick Durbin in the past had co-sponsored a bill that would reform H-1B visa programmes by ensuring that qualified American workers are considered for high skilled job opportunities before those jobs can be offered to foreign nationals.

“It also prohibit a company from hiring H-1B employees if they employ more than 50 people and more than 50 per cent of their employees are H-1B or L-1 visa holders,” he said. This provision would crack down on outsourcing companies that import large number of H-1B and L1 workers for short training periods and then send these workers back to their home countries to do the work of US workers, he added.

“In 2013, you and I seem to be the lone senators on thiscommittee who fought for US workers. We argued that the Gang of Eight bill that would have increased the number of foreign workers who came in on H-1B visas and actually hurt Americans who were qualified, willing to do those jobs, we said that thebill failed to adequately protect US workers and neglected to hold employers accountable for misusing the H-1B and L1 visa programs,” Grassley said.

“We tried to provide more protection for US workers. We tried to ensure that no business imported foreign workers before making a good faith effort to hire people at home. We tried to expand the ability for government to audit employers, we offered amendments that were supported by the AFL-CIO,” he said.

“In April 2015, you helped lead eight other senators in a letter to then Attorney General Holder, Secretary of Homeland Security Johnson, and Secretary of Labor Perez on this issue. Some of those who signed that letter sit on this panel today. For instance, Senator Durbin and Blumenthal,” he said.

That letter requested that the Obama administration investigate abuse of H-1B visa programmes by companies including Southern California Edison, Disney and IBM that have been laying off American workers and replacing them with H-1B workers in some cases reportedly making the American workers train their own replacements, Grassley said.

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  1. D
    Jan 14, 2017 at 8:10 pm
    H1B restriction will be great of India and will be great for American companies in long term . The shortage will now be filled by outsourcing development offs. Which is make american companies more profitable, even after border tax (if imposed), they will save almost 35% per resource.
    1. Haradhan Mandal
      Jan 12, 2017 at 9:45 am
      They have double standard for EVERYTHING. They want H1B and they don't want H1B. (it is their dilemma). It goes thru rigorous screening process. How can they grant H1B to a consulting company (in the first place) , when the actual client company have their own qualified people/employee already working there. Don't they ask where they (H1B guy from foreign country) will work? in the H1B applicant company or with any of its client? lt;br/gt;They are talking about BORDER now on this issue and they talk about FREE TRADE and no boundary (and no TARIFF) for their own product and services in other countries.
      1. J
        Jan 12, 2017 at 7:02 am
        US should not leave loop s in law if it wants to offer American jobs to american's only. Employees Count of 50 must be removed, the law should apply to all companies irrespective of it's size. Why leave loop s to exploit? This shows the law proposer is not sincere in his efforts. People here caught companies like HP, Wipro, cognizant miss using businesses visa to rotate two people from india every 3 months to avoid paying regular employee ry. What response do you expect from USA people. If USA LAWmakers are sincere, they should remove company employee pool size above 50 clause. They also should apply H1 rules to L1 visas. For business VISA they should not let the same person visit USA multiple times in 2 years to engage with same client if the company has presence in USA.
        1. A
          Jan 12, 2017 at 4:21 am
          US should give Greencard to H1B workers who have worked in America for more than 6 years and hired with the promise of greencard. I worked in USA from 98-2008 on H1B, I was promised greencard and relocated from India to USA in 2000. On that promise, purchased house,car, deductions were done from ry on Social Security, 401k,403b, I140 was approved in 2008 and no greencard yet. I am in India since 2008. What will happen to all my deductions, investments. First give greencard,pport to me and then talk about anything else
          1. PALAN GAMAN
            Jan 12, 2017 at 8:17 am
            Whether the foreign people arrived with the visa Is valid or not,the new President was elected on his arguments and promises that he would give priority to his country men.There Is no wrong at all fact United States was rich in the past decades and now it Is declining ecnomically.It Is everywhere in the world including India.Giving bogus promise on Green card was the work of the company Who recrute the people to work temporarily on less ry .This Is like the British IT Companies takes Indians on half ry of a British men and get the work done in Three months.( period of temporary visa for the Indians IT)lt;br/gt;but it doesn't mean the Govetnment of United States Is obliged to Grant this card to everyone!!!!!
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