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H1B visa puts American workers at risk: Republican Senator

"The H-1B visa is one programme that really puts American workers at risk," Senator Chuck Grassley, chairman of the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee, said during a Congressional hearing on homeland security Tuesday.

By: PTI | Washington | Published: January 17, 2018 8:05 am
US visa, H-1B visa, chuck grassley, republican senator, indian IT professionals, trump administration, united states citizenship, US immigration Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Chuck Grassley and Senator Barbara Feinstein arrive for a hearing with U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen on “Oversight of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security” on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., January 16, 2018. REUTERS

The H-1B work visa, which is highly popular among Indian technology professionals, puts American workers at risk, a top Republican Senator has alleged. The H-1B program offers temporary US visas that allow companies to hire highly skilled foreign professionals working in areas with shortages of qualified American workers.

But since taking office last January, the Trump administration has been cracking down on the scheme. “The H-1B visa is one programme that really puts American workers at risk,” Senator Chuck Grassley, chairman of the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee, said during a Congressional hearing on homeland security Tuesday.

Noting that the population of H-1B workers in the US has been growing for decades, Grassely said, with that growth, comes an increased possibility of fraud or abuse. “..both of which I have seen and called on the Department of Homeland Security, with the help of Department of Justice, to investigate and prosecute,” he was quoted as saying by PTI.

Grassely even looked to put blame on the H-1B workers for “stagnation” of salaries in the technology sector. “The vast majority of these H-1B workers are employed in the technology sector, and we’ve seen salaries in that industry stagnate for decades, at the same time the number of foreign tech workers keeps growing,” he said.

The senator said he was encouraged that Citizenship and Immigration Services has announced several H-1B initiatives “designed to protect American workers”. “I hope that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) would continue with its efforts to reign in abuses in a variety of foreign worker immigration categories,” said Grassley.

Participating in the Congressional hearing, Senator Orrin Hatch asked Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen on reports of doing away with work authorisation of spouses of H-1B visa holders. Nielsen did not give a direct answer to this. But did say the Department was looking into all of the visa categories.

Hatch also asked Nielsen about news reports on cancelling three-year extensions for H-1B visa holders who are being sponsored for green cards — which can be a time-consuming process due to per-country green card limits. “I believe that Congress previously addressed this issue in 2000, and indicated its intent to allow such extensions. Can you tell me if the department is, in fact, considering ways to stop granting these three-year extensions? And, if so, why? And I’d also be interested in hearing the department’s explanation of how ending these extensions squares with the 2000 law,” Hatch asked.

“I’m not familiar with the very specific example on H-1B, but I will get back to you immediately after this,” replied the Secretary of Homeland Secretary. The curb on H-1B visa extensions could result in self-deportation of an estimated 500,000-750,000 Indian Americans.

The proposal, which was part of President Donald Trump’s “Buy American, Hire American” initiative that he vowed to launch on the campaign trail, is being drafted by Department of Homeland Security leaders, according to reports.

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  1. Nigel Chung
    Feb 10, 2018 at 1:48 am
    the future looks bleak for our young people in tech. industry: s: epi /blog/top-10-h-1b-employers-are-all-it-offshore-outsourcing-firms-costing-u-s-workers-tens-of-thousands- s/
    1. U
      US Citizen
      Jan 19, 2018 at 12:23 am
      Yep. As the old song goes... "Mama, don't let you children grow up to be engineers. Let them be plumbers and mechanics and such..."
      1. I
        Jan 17, 2018 at 1:19 pm
        Its true the American's jobs are lost because of h1b visa programme which is abused and misused by Indian tech panies. The main reason is appointing the cheap labour in the name of h1b visa progamme. The h1b visa programme is compleetly misutiliesed. The tech panies appointing the cheap labour so has to benifiet profit up to that proportion and which will benifit its sore of share {artificial} value in the market. The us tech. companies shall recruit a foreighner if they wouldn't find an american for that position so as to protrct American jobs and also the ry shall be incresed upto 1,30,000 USD for h1b visa jobs as it ment for highly skilled workers. This should be done with immrdiate effect.
        1. Nigel Chung
          Jan 30, 2018 at 4:07 pm
          incoming CFO claimed i was involved in malfeasance conspiracy where $25m went missing. outrageous claim debunked. his way of replacing me with h1b worker. i developed the fin. outsourcing system for prominent real estate firm.