H-1B and L-1 Visa Reform Act of 2013 – Legislation introduced in US to prevent misuse of H1B and L-1 visa programme
Legislation named the “H-1B and L-1 Visa Reform Act of 2013” has been introduced in the US which is aimed at eliminating fraud and abuse of the H-1B visa programme, but provisions of which would make it difficult for Indian-Americans to get this popular work visa.
Why this Bill?
- It has been observed that the H-1B programme is being abused by companies which are hiring foreign workers slashing the opportunities of US workers.
- The programme was never meant to replace qualified American workers, but it was instead intended as a means to fill gaps in highly specialized areas of employment.
What are the proposed provisions in the Bill?
As per the provisions of this Bill:
- An H-1B application filed by an employer that employs 50 or more US workers will not be accepted unless the employer attests that less than 50% of the employer’s workforce are H-1B and L visa holders.
- Prospective H-1B employers will have to list available positions on a Department of Labour sponsored Website for a period of 30 days prior to petitioning for foreign labour
- Prohibits employers from advertising only to H-1B visa holders and prohibits companies from outsourcing visa holders to other companies.
- Wages paid to H-1B visa holders must be the highest of the locally-determined prevailing wage for the occupational classification in the area of employment; the median average wage for all workers in the occupational classification in the area of employment; or the median wage for skill level two in the occupational classification found in the most recent occupational employment statistics survey.
- The ability of the departments of Labour and Homeland Security will be enhanced to enforce worker protections by allowing random audits, and removes onerous requirements for starting Department of Labour investigations and requires Department of Labour employees to share information about H-1B petitions with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services.
- Each employer filing an application for an H-1B visa holder must submit to the Department of Labour the W-2 tax form for each H-1B visa holder employed during the previous period.
- In case of violation, fines per violation have been increased from $1,000 to $2,000 and from $5,000 to $10,000 for wilful misrepresentation and the ability of these companies will be restricted to participate in the future recruiting of such employees.
- An L visa holder will have to prove that a legitimate business is being established in the US, modifies the wage requirements and outplacement rules, provides L visa holders with a brochure about their rights, and requires a report on the blanket petition application process.