Two lawmakers have reintroduced a bill backing key changes in the H-1B visa program that allows skilled workers from countries like India to fill high-tech jobs in the U.S., claiming it will help crack down on abuse of the work visa.
The bill, among other things, increases the minimum salary of an H-1B visa holder to the US$100,000 per annum and eliminates the master’s degree exemption.
The ‘Protect and Grow American Jobs Act,' which makes important changes to the eligibility requirements for H-1B visa exemptions, was re-introduced on Jan. 4 by Republican Darrell Issa and Scott Peters – both from California.
The legislation, the lawmakers argued, will help crack down on abuse and ensure that these jobs remain available for the best and brightest talent from around the world.
The bill comes after a number of companies — Disney, SoCal Edison and others — came under fire for abusing the H-1B visa program to replace American workers with foreign workers.
The two lawmakers claimed that the legislation would cut down on abuse by eliminating the master’s degree exemption as foreign workers seeking H-1B visas have increasingly sought and obtained low-quality certificates to meet the requirements for an exemption just to qualify for an H-1B, instead of keeping the positions open for truly high-skilled positions that companies cannot fill domestically.
The bill had faced opposition last year in Congress.