A bipartisan bill before the U.S. Congress would ban multinational corporations from replacing American workers with foreign workers through the H-1B visa program.
A bipartisan bill authored by Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ), Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA), Rep. Dave Brat (R-VA), and Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) would make H-1B visa rules stricter and stop the practice that replaces millions of Americans by foreign workers in high-paying U.S. jobs.
The Congressmen and Senator sent a letter to President Donald Trump’s administration, requesting that he get behind the bipartisan plan.
Trump has been highly critical of the program, where every year, more than 100,000 foreign workers are brought to the U.S. on the H-1B visa and are allowed to stay for up to six years. That number has ballooned to potentially hundreds of thousands each year, as universities and non-profits are exempt from the cap. In the process, Americans are often replaced after being forced to train their foreign replacements.
According to the bipartisan letter sent to Trump, the plan would:
- Require that employers make a good faith effort to recruit and hire American workers before bringing in guest workers, and prohibiting employers from replacing American workers or giving preference to visa holders when they are filling open positions.
- 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 willfully violated H-1B program requirements to avoid obligations to recruit U.S workers and not displace them simply by paying a $60,000 annual wage. Merely raising this wage floor to another arbitrary level will not prevent future abuse. Instead, our bill would end the “exempt” H-1B worker loophole and would peg H-1B salaries to current wage levels by requiring employers to pay the highest wage applicable to each occupation and geographic area from one of the following three categories:
- The locally-determined prevailing wage level for the occupational classification in the area of employment;
- The median wage for all workers in the occupational classification in the area of employment; and
- The median wage for skill level 2 in the occupational classification found in the most recent OES survey.
- Prohibit the replacement of American workers with H-1B workers. Current law only requires that H-1B dependent employers and willful violators must certify that they tried to recruit U.S. workers first for a job they seek to offer to an H-1B worker. Our bill extends the recruitment requirement to all employers.
- Crack down on employers who abuse the H-1B visa. Current law makes it easy for outsourcing companies to circumvent the intent of the H-1B visa by bringing in guest workers to displace American workers. Our bill prohibits the outsourcing or leasing of H-1B workers to other employers and prevents an employer with more than 50 employees in the U.S. from hiring additional H-1B workers if the employer’s U.S. workforce is more than 50% H-1B and L-1 workers.
- Change the way H-1B visas are allocated to ensure that visas are allocated based on skills and wages. Allocating visas by lottery 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. Our bill creates specific categories of H-1B workers to give preference in the allocation of visas based on education, training, and economic value. Further, our bill amends the law to provide the Secretary of Homeland Security with discretion to allocate H-1B visas within this framework in any manner or order the Secretary deems appropriate.
Pro-American worker attorney Sara Blackwell said that while she’s grateful that there is a bipartisan plan to ban multinational corporations from replacing Americans with foreigners, the effort should go further.
Blackwell told Breitbart Texas that outsourcing firms that are contracted by corporations to outsource American jobs to foreign workers should also be banned from using their leverage to replace U.S. workers with H-1B foreigners.
“I think what they need to have in this legislation is that all the subcontractors are on the hook as well,” Blackwell said. “They can’t miss the business model.”
Blackwell also said the wage requirements in the legislation – where foreign workers would have to be paid a comparable wage to the area where the job is located – should be even tougher.
“If these [foreign] workers are that much more qualified, they should be required to get double the pay of the Americans,” Blackwell said. “Personally, I think the minimum should be $150,000 minimum.”
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart Texas. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.