H-1B visas are nonimmigrant visas that allow U.S. employers to hire foreign workers in specialty occupations temporarily. Employers who use them say the visas are crucial because they allow workers outside the country to fill skill gaps in the U.S. workforce. In 2016, the demand for the visas was also 3 times higher than the annual limit of 85,000.
However, critics of the visas believe outsourcing the jobs not only takes those occupations away from American citizens but allows big companies to pay foreign workers less money than they would have to if they hired Americans. The current president has indicated he wants to crack down on the misuse of visas, and Representative Darrell Issa of California introduced a bill regarding H-1B.
The bill’s purpose is to punish outsourcing companies. Any business paying H-1B workers less than $100,000 would have to show they couldn’t hire U.S. citizens for the same jobs. While a bill already exists that does something similar, the old bill’s cap is $60,000, an outdated level established in 1998. The bill would only apply to companies with more than 50 employees, and for whom H-1B workers make up at least 15% of the workforce.
Another representative, Zoe Lofgren, has drafted a more comprehensive bill that would award visas to companies that offer the highest salaries. She believes Issa’s legislation is inadequate to halt outsourcing and that her bill would avoid undercutting the wages of U.S. workers and let the market forces do their work.
Many industries depend on H-1B visas for their employees, including doctors, professors, coaches, models, foreign journalists, and zookeepers. Employers must all pay, at least, the prevailing wage for the job. If the goal is to curb, H-1B misuse, the American public will see how Congress votes on the next two bills concerning the visa.
If you need help applying for a visa, contact our experienced Clearwater immigration law attorneys at K. Dean Kantaras, P.A. Let our skilled attorneys help you explore your legal avenues for citizenship. Call us at (727) 939-6113 or fill out our online form to schedule a case consultation today.