Changes will be coming to the immigration system in the United States, of that we can be certain. Rep. Issa introduced the Protect and Grow American Jobs Act on January 7, 2017. Donald Trump rode a wave of xenophoic energy all the way to the White House. The most recent bill in Congress for the H-1B visas may be the changes that we see in 2017 and beyond. Interestingly, for most employers with H-1B visa holders not much will change.
The Protect and Grow American Jobs Act proposed by Congress fall against companies dubbed H-1B dependent. Typically, these companies are Indian IT firms, but also includes tech giant Facebook. In the factual findings for the proposed Protect and Grow American Jobs Act (all laws have patriotic names), Congress finds that H-1B dependent employers have a loop hole allowing them to game the system.
The law changes the rules for H-1B dependent employers and requires them to pay their H-1B employees $100,000, with increases tied to the Consumer Price Index.
Will the Protect and Grow American Jobs Act work to stop H-1B abuses by Indian IT companies that comprise a very large proportion of all H-1B applications. Perhaps this law will lower the raw numbers of applications and give legitimate H-1B hopefuls a better chance of winning the lottery. First, the bill must become a law and it is a long ways from that because it was just introduced this past week.
Here’s the Full Text of the “Protect and Grow American Jobs Act”:
To amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to modify the definition of “exempt H–1B nonimmigrant”.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
This Act may be cited as the “Protect and Grow American Jobs Act”.
The Congress makes the following findings:
(1) The H–1B visa program allows businesses temporarily to hire highly skilled foreign workers with specialized knowledge, where a qualified worker in the United States cannot be found.
(2) In 1990, the Congress created the H–1B visa program to help ensure that access to qualified highly skilled professionals was not an obstacle to economic growth and job creation in the United States.
(3) The H–1B visa program was never intended to be used as a catalyst for laying off workers in the United States and replacing them with H–1B workers.
(4) The unintended consequences of the H–1B visa program enabled a small number of companies to hire large numbers of H–1B workers relative to their United States worker populations.
(5) In 1998, Congress passed new enforcement provisions to the H–1B program in order to prevent companies from displacing United States workers with lower-cost foreign professionals.
(6) The 1998 revisions defined a new class of H–1B dependent employers and established additional conditions on their business and hiring practices unless they paid sufficiently high wages.
(7) The 1998 revisions, however, did not index wage requirements to keep pace with wage growth, and, as a result, the strength of provisions designed to protect workers and employers committed to hiring United States workers was reduced significantly.
The purpose of this Act is to close a loophole in the H–1B visa program by requiring H–1B dependent employers once again to pay sufficiently high wages to ensure the protection of the workforce in the United States and to remove other impediments to proper H–1B visa enforcement.
Section 212(n)(3)(B) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1182(n)(3)(B)) is amended—
(1) by striking clause (i) and inserting the following:
“(i) the term ‘exempt H–1B nonimmigrant’ means an H–1B nonimmigrant who receives wages (including cash bonuses) at an annual rate equal to at least the greater of $100,000 or the applicable adjusted amount under clause (iii);”;
(2) in clause (ii), by striking the period at the end and inserting “; and”; and
(3) by adding at the end the following:
“(iii) the amount described in clause (i) (as of the last increase to such amount) shall be increased, effective for the third fiscal year that begins after the date of the enactment of this clause and for every third fiscal year thereafter, by the percentage (if any) by which the Consumer Price Index for the month of June preceding the date on which such increase takes effect exceeds the Consumer Price Index for the same month of the third preceding calendar year.”.