Bill targeting H1B visas reintroduced in US Cong

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A bill backing key changes in the H1-B programme that allows skilled workers from countries like India to fill high-tech jobs in the US has been re-introduced in the US Congress by two lawmakers who claim that it will help crack down on the work visa abuse.

The ‘Protect and Grow American Jobs Act,’ which makes important changes to the eligibility requirements for H1-B Visa exemptions, was re-introduced on Wednesday by Republican Darrell Issa and Scott Peters — both from California.

The bill, among other things, increases the minimum salary of H-1B visa to $100,000 per annum and eliminates the masters degree exemption.

The legislation, they argued, will help curb abuse and ensure that these jobs remain available for the best talent from around the world.

The bill comes after a number of firms – Disney, SoCal Edison and others –have come under fire for abusing the H1B visa programme to replace Americans with foreign workers.

“For the US to lead again, we need to ensure that can retain the world’s best and brightest talent. At the same time, we also need to make sure that programmes are not abused to allow firms to outsource and hire cheap fo­r­eign labour to replace US workers,” Issa said. “The legislation we’re introducing today does both. It will ensure that our valuable high-skilled immigration sp­ots are used by firms when the positions cannot be filled by the existing workforce.”

By raising the salary to a level more in-line with the average US pay for these positions, it would help cut do­wn on abuse by removing the profit incentive and ensuring these positions remain available for firms that truly need them, said a release.

“Curbing abuse of the H1B system will protect US jobs and help ensure that visas are available for innovators who need them to keep a competitive workfor­ce,” Peters said. “This bipartisan bill makes one of the much-needed updates to our high-skilled visa system to level the playing field and help prevent firms from taking advantage of the system to offshore jobs,” he said.

The bill had faced opposition last year in Congress. Trump has listed immigration reform among five executive actions he plans to take on his first day in office.

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