US lawmakers urged US President Trump to stop the abuse of H-1B, L-1 visas

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with House and Senate leadership in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, June 6, 2017. Trump is bringing lawmakers to the White House in hopes of kick-starting his legislative agenda while Washington focuses on the latest twists and turns in the Russia investigation. Photographer: Olivier Douliery/Pool via Bloomberg

Vastavam web: A bipartisan group of influential lawmakers has urged US President Donald Trump to stop the abuse of H-1B and L-1 visas by outsourcing firms to replace American workers with cheap foreign labour. In a letter dated July 27, which was released yesterday, the group said a legislation introduced by them close these loopholes and overhaul these visa programmes to protect American workers and crack down on outsourcing companies which deprive qualified Americans of high-skill jobs.

“We write because, for far too long, the H-1B visa has been abused by some corporations as a way to displace American workers with cheap foreign labour. We urge you to use your authority as president to the greatest extent possible to stop H-1B abuses, but we believe reform also must happen legislatively because of loopholes in the law,” the lawmakers said in the letter to the president. The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise in specialised fields. H-1B visa is the most sought after by Indian IT professionals.

L-1 visas are available to employees of an international company with offices in both the US and abroad. The visa allows foreign workers to relocate to the corporation’s US office after having worked abroad for the company for at least one continuous year within the previous three prior to admission in the US. The lawmakers said their legislation provides protections for American workers and visa holders as it calls for more transparency in the recruitment of foreign workers. The bill, they said, addresses gaps in the current law by requiring that the employers make a good faith effort to recruit and hire American workers before bringing in guest workers.

It also proposes to modify existing H-1B wage requirements to ensure employers pay foreigners comparable wages in the area of employment.Current law allows the payment of below-market wages to H-1B workers across industries and geographic areas and even allows H-1B-dependent employers and employers who have previously wilfully violated H-1B programme requirements to avoid obligations to recruit US workers and not displace them simply by paying a USD 60,000 annual wage.The three categories are — locally-determined prevailing wage level for the occupational classification in the area of employment; median wage for all workers in the occupational classification in the area of employment; and median wage for skill level two in the occupational classification found in the most recent OES survey.

In the letter, the lawmakers have opposed allocating visas by lottery. This does not allow the government to determine how it awards the 85,000 visas and outsourcing companies are thus able to secure tens of thousands of H-1B visas annually to offshore American jobs.