Pascrell, Brat, Khanna, Gosar Bill Addresses Abuses in Visa Programs
H-1B and L-1 Visa reform bill promotes jobs and reduces abuse of skilled non-American workers
Today, U.S. Representatives Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ), Dave Brat (R-VA), Ro Khanna (D-CA), and Paul Gosar (R-AZ) introduced the H-1B and L-1 Visa Reform Act of 2017. The legislation would close loopholes in the H-1B and L visa programs to reduce fraud and abuse, provide protections for American workers and visa holders, and require more transparency in the recruitment of foreign workers. This bipartisan legislation would overhaul the H-1B and L-1 visa programs to protect workers and crack down on foreign outsourcing companies which deprive qualified Americans of high-skill jobs.
"We have skilled, high-tech professionals here in America. Many are unemployed and carrying the debt of advanced degrees. Some businesses, by 'in-sourcing' and exploiting foreign workers, are abusing the visa programs – undercutting our workforce to reap the rewards," said Rep. Pascrell. “Abusing the visa system to get cheap labor hurts the American middle class and is something I cannot accept. The critical reforms in this bill will support American workers and create safeguards against the exploitation of visa workers."
"U.S. immigration policy should serve the interests of the American worker. When I came to Congress I promised to examine where our immigration laws are falling short," said Rep. Brat. "Too often companies capitalize on the loopholes in our immigration system to displace high-skilled American workers in search of cheap labor. This bipartisan legislation presents a real opportunity to prevent fraud and abuse in our visa system so it better serves the American worker."
"This legislation will offer reforms that eliminate the abuse of the H1-B visa program. As the son of immigrants, I know that immigrants strengthen our nation and economy. But we cannot allow for companies to underpay foreign workers and use them to replace American workers," said Rep. Khanna. "Instead, we need American companies to invest in our own workforce. The bill will prevent the exploitation of foreign workers while still recognizing the contributions immigrants make to our economy."
The H-1B visa program allows employers to hire nonimmigrant aliens in specialty occupations temporarily. The program is intended to provide companies with specialized workers in instances where their skills or qualifications are not available among U.S. workers. The L-1 visa program allows companies with offices in the U.S. and abroad to temporarily transfer certain foreign employees to the U.S. to work.
Foreign outsourcing companies are the top users of the H-1B and L-1 visa programs. Some of these companies have been exploiting the H-1B and L-1 visas to displace qualified American workers and facilitate the eventual offshoring of American jobs. They import large numbers of H-1B and L-1 workers for short training periods and then send these workers back to their home country to do the work of Americans.
The H-1B and L-1 Visa Reform Act of 2017 has the endorsement of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).
The bill, a companion to the Senate's version sponsored by Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Dick Durbin (D-IL), would restore Congress’s original intent for the H-1B and L-1 visa programs by: