The US Congressional committee proposes increasing the minimum salary of H-1B visa holders to United States dollars 90,000 from the existing USD 60,000 and imposes a number of restriction on the work visa popular among IT professionals from India, according to a PTI report. The Protect and Grow American Jobs Act (HR 170) introduced by Darrell Issa, the Chairman of the Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet subcommittee - was passed by the House Judiciary Committee during a markup hearing on Thursday.
The Bill now heads to the full House for necessary action, reports PTI. Finally, the bill would prohibit H-1B dependent employers from replacing American workers with H-1B employees.
The H-1B work visas, essentially, allow highly skilled foreign workers to travel to the US, and have been at the centre of a storm since US President Donald Trump's presidential campaign previous year.
Now that the bill has passed the committee, it will move to the House for a vote.
NASSCOM president R Chandrashekhar in a statement said that HR 170, as adopted by House Judiciary Committee, would harm United States businesses and impose an extraordinary amount of bureaucratic red tape on a programme that contributes greatly to U.S. prosperity.
The provisions would "stifle USA innovation by unfairly and arbitrarily targeting a handful of companies who used just 16 percent of the new H-1B visas in (fiscal year) 2016 while imposing no new requirements on the vast majority of companies that use the visas to do the same exact things", the group's president, Rentala Chandrasekhar, said in a statement.
"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.to recruit individuals with unique skill sets not available here at home", Issa said in a statement Wednesday.
The Bill, moved by Republican lawmaker Darell Issa, proposes a string of measures that strike at the root of the business model followed by Indian IT companies, that are premised on wage differentials between amounts paid to foreigners on H-1B and local Americans.
The House Judiciary Committee just took a step toward toughening the rules for H1-B visas.
"Highly skilled individuals that come to America through the H-1B visa program add tremendous value to the U.S. economy". "But not all bad actors are H-1B dependent". Employers who use the H-1B programme are highly regulated and scrutinized already, and NASSCOM member companies abide by all applicable laws and regulations.
According to a study by the Pew Research Center, based on fiscal 2016 data from US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) data, for eight of the top 10 India-centric IT companies, the average salary for workers on H-1B visas was higher than the median salary for US citizens in computer and mathematical jobs, Chandrashekhar argued.