With the impending new president in office within two days, congress has been reviewing and expecting to change visa requirements this year. One of the visas that is up to change is the H-1B visa. The House Judiciary Committee has been reviewing a bill that would require the employers to pay their high-skilled foreign temporary workers hired with the H-1B visa program a $40,000 increase from the current requirements. Currently a minimum of $60,000 is required to pay the foreign worker but the new change will increase the minimum to $100,000 per worker. This change will be called “Protect and Grow American Jobs Act. The bill has been sponsored by Republican Representative from California, Darrel Issa, who has been a major supporter of President-Elect Donald Trump.
The H-1B visa program was intended for American companies who could not find American workers with the skills they needed, to obtain work from foreign countries into America. These workers were to only be hired with a specialized skill or advanced degree.
President-elect Donald Trump has argued that companies are abusing the H-1B visa program by directing jobs to foreign workers so that they can pay them less. This would push jobs from America to outsourcing countries. Trumps plan to increase the minimum payment is intended to end the abuse of the visa program. Ronin Hira, the Howard University public policy researcher, agrees with Trump saying “the H-1B program is most definitely harming American workers, harming them badly, and on a large scale.” Most recently, a group of tech workers filed a suit against Disney. They said that Disney forced them to train their foreign workers which is a violation to the H-1B law considering they were supposed to be already trained highly skilled foreign workers. The suit was eventually dismissed on a technicality.
The program currently states that the workers must be paid a minimum of $60,000 a year which was set into place in 1998. Congress is arguing that the wage requirements have not been indexed to wage growth since 1998 and its providing a decline in protection for American workers. Although increasing the minimum wage would make it less attractive to hire foreign workers it could push the companies into fully offshoring more technical jobs.
Learn more about H-1B visa and their requirements here.
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