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Rep. Issa Bill To Stop Outsourcing of American Jobs Passes Judiciary Committee

Press Release
Nov 15, 2017

Congressman Darrell Issa (R-Vista) released the following statement after the House Judiciary Committee today approved legislation he introduced to curb abuse of the nation’s H-1B Visa system and stop the outsourcing of American jobs.
 
His bill, the Protect and Grow American Jobs Act, closes loopholes used by outsourcing companies to undercut American workers with cheaper workers brought in under H-1B, as seen in recent high-profile cases (see herehere and here for examples) and highlighted in a recent 60 Minutes profile.
 
By curtailing abuse, the reforms approved today ensure that employers seeking to recruit high-skilled workers through H-1B are not crowded out in the application process by outsourcers gaming the system. The changes ensure that the limited slots under H-1B will instead be available for their intended purpose: to help American companies recruit employees with special skillsets not available in the United States.
 
"Highly skilled individuals that come to America through the H-1B visa program add tremendous value to the U.S. economy. We have a responsibility to ensure this important program isn’t being abused by employers to undercut American jobs,” said Congressman Darrell Issa. “Unfortunately, loopholes in the program have allowed a small handful of employers to game the system to displace American workers and crowd out others who legitimately need the limited slots available to recruit individuals with unique skillsets not available here at home. The Protect and Grow American Jobs Act is a common-sense update that will go a long way to protecting American workers while helping companies access to the talent they need to grow their businesses and create new jobs here in America."
 
The legislation approved today by the Judiciary Committee includes compromise language negotiated by Congressman Darrell Issa on a bipartisan basis. Among other changes, the bill:

  • Updates wage requirements to better align with local market averages. The legislation replaces both the $60,000 wage exemption and the advanced degree exemption in favor of a new formula that is equal to the lesser of $135,000 or the mean wage for applicants’ occupation in their area (but subject to a floor of no less than $90,000). The bill would also require the wage levels in this formula to be indexed for inflation over time.
  • Increases accountability for H-1B employers. H-1B dependent employers currently need to merely "attest" that they've taken good faith effort to recruit U.S. workers before seeking an H-1B visa for the open position. Under the new legislation, H-1B employers would be required to submit detailed a recruitment report summarizing the steps they have taken to recruit U.S. workers; the number of U.S. workers who applied for the job; the number of such workers who were offered the job, whether the workers accepted the offer, and for each worker who was not offered the job, the reason why the job was not offered.
  • Bolsters transparency of the program. The legislation would require the Secretaries of Labor and Homeland Security to annually publish a report on the use of the H-1B program including lists of H-1B dependent employers, occupations, wages, worksites and the status of any on-going or completed investigations into misuse of H-1B programs.
  • Improves oversight of H-1B dependent employers. The legislation authorizes the Department of Labor to conduct periodic investigations of H-1B dependent employers and requires the Department of Labor to review at least five percent of such employers annually. It also ensures that current H-1B penalties, including fines and debarment from the H-1B program, can be levied against any H-1B dependent employer that uses the program to displace American workers.

A detailed summary of the legislation is available here.

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