Lawmakers Should Ensure H-1B is Not Abused: Ro Khanna

The H-1B program should attract the best and the brightest workforce to the United States, Khanna said.


American lawmakers should make sure that the H-1B visa program is not abused to undercut the US job market, Indian-American politician Ro Khanna said. The Congressman, who represents Silicon Valley in the House of Representatives, said that the program should instead attract the best and the brightest workforce to the country.

Khanna made these remarks during a speech at an event organized by the South Asia Centre of Atlantic Council on Sept. 13.

H-1B visa holders are not job takers

 “There are people who are now leading huge tech companies that started out on H-1B visas,” Khanna said, pointing out that they are now creating jobs and innovation. “We want to make sure that talent is coming to the US because we know that most H-1B visas when you look at those studies are job creators. They are not job takers,” he added.

“We want to make sure that it’s being done with proper compensation. That they are not being underpaid that they’re not that they’re being paid a wage that is the prevailing wage.”

The Atlantic Council is a platform that discusses various ways for implementing economic and political changes through a network of global leaders. The Council called Khanna for the discussion to know about his proposed bill centered on reforming the H-1B and L-1 visas for high-skilled workers.

During the talk, Khanna said that this bill is specifically intended to stop H-1B abuses. “As the son of immigrants, I know that immigrants strengthen our nation and economy,” he said.

“But we cannot allow for companies to underpay foreign workers and use them to replace American workers. Instead, we need American companies to invest in our own workforce. The bill will prevent the exploitation of foreign workers while still recognizing the contributions immigrants make to our economy.”

Khanna highlighted the contributions that Indian-Americans are making to Silicon Valley, giving the examples of Vinod Khosla and Sundar Pichai.

“I mean you’ve got people like Vinod Khosla, Sunder Pichai, at Google. I mean the list is endless in terms of individuals,” he said.

Ro Khanna: All you need to know

Khanna, 41, was born in Philadelphia. His parents migrated to the United States from Punjab. His father was a chemical engineer, while his mother worked as a substitute school teacher.

The Yale alumnus currently represents California’s Seventeenth Congressional District and is serving his first term.

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