Congressman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) re-introduced legislation on Jan 4th 2017 to help stop the outsourcing of American jobs and to reform the nation’s high-skilled immigration program. H.R. 170, the “Protect and Grow American Jobs Act,” makes important changes to the eligibility requirements for H1-B Visa exemptions that will help crack down on abuse and ensure these spots remain available for the best and brightest talent from around the world.
Congressman Issa’s bill is introduced with the support of fellow San Diego area Congressman Scott Peters (D-CA).
Congressman Darrell Issa: “In order for America to lead again, we need to ensure we can retain the world’s best and brightest talent. At the same time, we also need to make sure programs are not abused to allow companies to outsource and hire cheap foreign labor from abroad to replace American workers. The legislation we’re introducing today does both. It will ensure that our valuable high-skilled immigration spots are used by companies when the positions cannot be filled by the existing workforce. This bill is simple, bipartisan and is an important step to growing our economy and fixing one of the many aspects of our country’s broken immigration system.”
Congressman Scott Peters: “Curbing abuse of the H1-B system will protect American jobs and help ensure that visas are available for innovators who need them to maintain a competitive workforce. This bipartisan bill makes one of the much-needed updates to our high-skilled visa system to level the playing field and help prevent companies from taking advantage of the system to offshore jobs. I will continue pushing for a comprehensive fix to our immigration system, but in the meantime this is a smart step forward.”
Background On The Bill: Congressman Issa’s bill comes after a number of companies (Disney, SoCal Edison and others) have come under fire for abusing the H1B Visa program to replace American workers with foreign workers from overseas.
The legislation would help close a loophole in the nation’s high-skilled immigration system being used by these companies to bring in cheaper foreign labor from abroad. It would raise the salary requirement for the positions to $100,000/year (up from $60,000/year currently) and eliminate the Masters Degree exemption. By raising the salary to a level more in-line with the average American salary for these positions, it would help cut down on abuse and ensure these positions remain available for companies who truly need them.
It would also cut down on abuse by eliminating the masters degree exemption, which has become abused as foreign workers seeking H1B Visas have increasingly sought and obtained low-quality certificates to meet the requirements for an exemption just to qualify for H1B, instead of keeping the positions open for truly high-skilled positions that companies cannot fill domestically.