A new legislation intends to check H-1 B related frauds
Guest post by Madhu Nair
Ever since the 2008 economic crash, Americans have been accusing the H-1 B visa as an instrument used to steal their jobs. The United States is battling a high unemployment rate and the voice for a pro-American job policy is increasing day by day. With critics crying foul over the provisions of the policy and its abuse by technology majors, America’s H-1B visa policy has run into troubled waters.
According to a recent report, Senator Chuck Grassley, a ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has introduced a legislation which aims to eliminate fraud and abuse of the H-1B visa policy. The legislation intends to make reforms to increase enforcement, modify wage requirements and ensure protection of visa holders and American workers. Grassley says that the legislation will not only benefit American workers, but also help U.S. companies to get quality specialized workers from abroad.
Grassley adds, “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.”
The legislation, if passed, may affect jobseekers from India and elsewhere. The recently passed H-1B and L-1 Visa Reform Act of 2013 ensures that an H-1B application filed by a company employing 50 or more U.S. workers will not be accepted unless the employer attests that less than 50% of the its workforce are H-1B and L-1 visa holders. This, in addition, to the legislation introduced by Grassley could mean trouble for companies who seek cheap and quality workers, largely from developing economies. A recently published article had also highlighted that many of the H-1B hires do not belong to the “best and the brightest” category. This further pushed the need to reform the policy which has gained a political face of late.
With a cap of 65,000 H-1B visas a year, Indian companies were seen scrambling for approvals with over 50,000 applications being filed on the very first day of screening. Market analysts say that the cap on visas and other such compulsions will impact the margins of companies adversely. The increasing unemployment has also forced companies in the U.S. to take to sub-contracting and local hiring. This further adds pressure on companies to take to other means in order to achieve their ambitions.
While a short-term impact looks imminent, it would be better to come out with options to avoid such situations in the future. The global economy changed remarkably after the 2008 crisis with the world turning towards developing economies to pave the path ahead. India, with its growing young and abundant workforce, has an edge over other countries in reaping the benefits. But it would be rather cynical to neglect developed economies while doing so. The only way forward is to find a middle ground where countries can work together for a sustainable future.