Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Chuck Grassley today is introducing legislation to bring much needed reform to the H-1B and L visa programs, and help ensure that Americans are given top consideration when applying for jobs.
The legislation makes reforms to increase enforcement, modify wage requirements and ensure protection for visa holders and American workers. Grassley believes the bill would provide a good basis for H-1B reform in the comprehensive immigration bill being put together by a bipartisan group of senators.
"Somewhere along the line, the H-1B program got side-tracked. The program 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. When times are tough, like they are now, it's especially important that Americans get every consideration before an employer looks to hire from abroad," Grassley said. "The legislation will benefit the American worker, while still ensuring that U.S. companies get the specialized workers they need."
An October 2008 Benefit Fraud and Compliance Assessment from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service revealed more than a 20 percent violation rate by those who use the H-1B visa program. The GAO also revealed in 2011 that the program lacks sufficient controls to ensure that employers are abiding by the rules. Recently, data from fiscal 2012 revealed that the top 10 companies that use the program are offshoring firms that take up nearly 50 percent of the visas available.