Bipartisan bill proposed in Senate to close loopholes in H-1B and L-1 visas

US Senate legislation H-1B L-1 Visa
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Bipartisan legislation has been proposed in the US Senate to reform and plug loopholes in the H-1B and L-1 visa programmes in an effort to address America’s flawed immigration system.

The H-1B and L-1 Visa Reform Act, introduced by Senators Charles Grassley and Dick Durbin, will decrease fraud and abuse, safeguard American employees and visa holders, and compel more openness in the recruitment of foreign workers.

The thorough revamping of the H-1B and L-1 visa systems will safeguard American workers while cracking down on foreign outsourcing firms that use these visa programmes to deny qualified Americans high-skilled employment.

The two visa programmes were established to supplement America’s skilled workforce.

“Reforming the H-1B and L-1 visa programs is a critical component to fixing America’s broken immigration system. For years, outsourcing companies have used legal loopholes to displace qualified American workers, exploit foreign workers, and facilitate the outsourcing of American jobs. Our legislation would fix these broken programs, protect workers, and put an end to these abuses,” Durbin, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said.

The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US businesses to engage foreign workers in specialist areas that require theoretical or technical knowledge. The L-1 visa is granted to individuals who are already employed by the firm in another nation and are only migrating to an American office.

According to Grassley’s office, the H-1B and L-1 Visa Reform Act will force US Citizenship and Immigration Services to prioritise the yearly issuance of H-1B visas for the first time.

It stated that the new method will ensure that the smartest and brightest STEM advanced degree students educated in the United States be given priority for an H-1B visa, as well as other US advanced degree holders who are paid well and have relevant abilities.

The legislation expressly prohibits the replacement of American workers by H-1B or L-1 visa holders, and it specifies that the hiring of an H-1B worker, including H-1B workers placed at the American worker’s worksite by another employer, may not adversely affect the working conditions of similarly employed American workers.

Significantly, the legislation will target outsourcing firms who bring in large numbers of these people for temporary training purposes simply to send them back to their native countries to do the same job. The bill’s sponsors stated that it would particularly prevent enterprises with more than 50 workers, at least half of whom are H-1B or L-1 holders, from employing further H-1B personnel.

This action gives the US Department of Labor increased jurisdiction to examine, investigate, and audit employer compliance with programme rules, as well as sanction fraudulent or abusive behaviour.

Senators Richard Blumenthal, Tommy Tuberville, Sherrod Brown, Bill Hagerty, and Bernie Sanders also support the bill.

Grassley and Durbin proposed the bill in 2007 and have long been champions for H-1B and L-1 visa reform.