U.S. Govt. Seeks to Ensure Temporary Work Permits Do Not Harm Domestic Workers
The H1B visa, popular among Indian IT companies and professionals, is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise.
The Trump administration told lawmakers on Dec. 20 that the U.S. should select the “very best” among the applicants under the H-1B visas. The administration asserted that it was determined to ensure that the temporary work permits, most sought by Indian IT companies, do not harm domestic workers.
The H1B visa, which is popular among Indian IT companies and professionals, is a non-immigrant visa that allows U.S. companies to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. The technology companies depend on it to hire tens of thousands of employees each year from countries like India and China, Indian news agency PTI reported.
Homeland Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen told members of the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee during a Congressional hearing that no other visa category has received as much attention in recent years as the H-1B, as reports of abuse of the program have caused outrage among the public.
“No qualified hardworking American should be forced to train their H-1B replacement, and then let go,” she said. “The number of H-1B petitions routinely exceeds the statutory cap, and among that pool of petitions, we should endeavor to select the very best for the privilege of coming to the United States for work.”
Nielsen said the Department of Homeland Security wants to ensure that American workers are not pushed aside for the promise of cheaper, foreign labor, and the employers, recruiters or any of their agents do not exploit foreign workers, PTI reported.
She also said that the Trump administration has stepped up its measures to detect employment-based visa fraud and abuse, but certain nonimmigrant visa programs need reform in order to protect American workers.
“While current law only requires it for certain employers, which are few in number and can easily meet the wage and degree exemption, all employers should be required to certify that they have made a good faith effort to recruit US workers before filing an H-1B petition and have offered jobs to qualified and available American applicants,” Nielsen said.
Although current law prohibits some H-1B employers from displacing U.S. workers, there are loopholes that must close, she told the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
“We have to make sure the H-1B program does not harm American workers who may be as qualified and willing to do jobs that foreign workers are imported to fill,” PTI reported Nielsen as saying.