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Controversial H-1B bill pulled from House committee

Stephanie Overby | Sept. 16, 2016
The U.S. House Judiciary Committee has halted its plan to take up an increasingly controversial H-1B bill. It had been set for a committee vote yesterday.

$100,000 wage requirement 'toothless'

Ron Hira, associate professor of public policy at Howard University and author of Outsourcing America, says many H-1B dependent firms have ways around the $60,000 wage requirement that would likewise render the $100,000 minimum wage toothless.

“Those firms can continue to displace U.S. workers as long as they wait 90 days to lay off the U.S. worker,” Hira says, noting that the knowledge transfer from the U.S. worker to an H-1B visa holder usually takes at least that long. “There are other easy workarounds such as defining the jobs differently,” Hira says. “Further, it would be very easy to comply with the good faith recruitment requirements yet still prefer H-1B workers over qualified U.S. workers.”

Hira examined the Labor Condition Applications (the LCA is the document employers must file with the U.S. Department of Labor before petitioning the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service for non-immigrant visas) and the I-29 petitions filed with the Department of Homeland Security for the biggest Indian user of H-1B visa holders from 2010-2012. He found that 6,866 of the 18,000 approved workers were neither paid $60,000 nor held post-graduate degrees.”

Harrison says the IEEE-USA would like Congress to expand the employment-based green card program to make it easier for skilled non-Americans to immigrate and become full citizens, “but that's too much to ask for this year.”

If the bill does resurface, Hira sats that it’s unlikely to change the hiring practices of firms who “will find easy workarounds the H-1B Dependent rules, meeting good faith recruiting and non-displacement in the letter of the law but not in the spirit of it.” 


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