Published: Fri, January 13, 2017
Business | By Max Garcia

H1-B Visa Curbs Coming Soon, Promises Trump's Pick For Attorney General

H1-B Visa Curbs Coming Soon, Promises Trump's Pick For Attorney General

In a reply to Senator Charles Grassley, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sessions said, "We have borders". "While the office is created to protect foreign nationals with employment visas from discrimination, it is also charged with ensuring that American workers are not discriminated against in the workplace", he said. Data from US Citizenship and Immigration Service shows that the tech sector is by far the biggest beneficiary of the programme, taking more than 64 per cent of the 315,000+ H-1B petitions in 2014.

Sessions and Grassley have previously worked together to bring legislations on H-1B visas that had badly hit Indian IT companies. The two bills right now grant entry to foreign workers in United States to work for a US-based enterprise.

They also feel that shortage of local skilled tech workers in the USA would make it hard for the Trump administration to follow through the election rhetoric.

Responding to another question by Grassley regarding the abuse of H1B visas, Sessions said, "I believe this has been an abuse". And I have been pleased to support your legislation and some others too, that others have produced that I believe could be helpful.

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 by removing the profit incentive and ensuring these positions remain available for companies who truly need them, a media release said.

Describing Mr Sessions as a vocal champion for American workers, Mr Grassley said many American workers are being laid off and replaced by cheaper foreign labour imported through some of the United States visa programmes. It will also increase employment costs for hiring employees with higher qualification and would increase the cost of operations and pressurise margins.

This provision would crack down on outsourcing companies that import large number of H-1B and L1 workers for short training periods and then send these workers back to their home countries to do the work of U.S. workers, he added.

Hike in visa cost The US has already sharply hiked H-1B and L-1 visa costs in January 2016 - from $2,000, to $6,000 for H-1B and $4,500 for L-1 visas - for firms that employed 50 or more workers in US, with more than 50% of them employed on H-1B or L-1 visas.

The US H1-B visa is a non-immigrant visa, which allows firms to hire foreign workers in specialised occupations. "If you look at many other high-tech companies, they all hire H1B visa workers because there is an inherent shortage", Infosys chief executive officer Vishal Sikka was quoted as saying by the Business Standard last month. "For instance, Senator Durbin and Blumenthal", he said. Besides, Trump also plans to initiate an investigation by the Department of Labour into the "abuses of the visa programmes that undercut the American worker" on the first day he assumes office.

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