Hike Minimum Salary Of H1-B Visa Holders, Says US Congress Committee

The proposed rules involve a substantial hike in minimum salary -- from $60,000 to $90,000. It also makes it impossible to replace Americans with workers brought in under H1-B visa.

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Hike Minimum Salary Of H1-B Visa Holders, Says US Congress Committee

Donald Trump has criticised the H1-B visa regime, popular among Indian IT professionals.


Washington:  The US Congress is trying to pass a law that could make life tougher for companies hiring workers on H1-B visa, which is popular among Indian IT professionals. The proposed law involves a substantial hike in minimum salary -- from $60,000 to $90,000. It also makes it impossible to replace Americans with workers brought in under H1-B visa.

The proposed law also says to recruit a foreign national under the H1-B visa programme, the companies will have to pay a huge salary. A media release issued by the House Judiciary Committee said the companies must "pay the lower of USD 135,000 - which is indexed for inflation -- or the average wage for the occupation in the area of employment, but with a floor of USD 90,000".

A section of the US Congress have been vocal about how foreign outsourcing companies were allegedly abusing the visa programme, exploiting foreign workers and taking away jobs from educated, deserving Americans. The proposed law is seen as an extension of the Donald Trump administration's crackdown on work visas for skilled workers from abroad to ensure jobs for Americans.  

If passed, the new is likely to have a major impact on the big Indian IT companies since their revenue model is heavily dependent on H-1B and L1 visas. But it is unlikely to be passed since it is part of immigration reforms over which Republicans and Democrats have regularly clashed.

Indian IT trade association NASSCOM, however, has already made its views clear. In a statement, its chief R Chandrashekhar, said the bill, dubbed HR 170, would harm businesses and impose an extraordinary amount of red tape on a programme that contributes greatly to the US prosperity.

"It also could disrupt the marketplace, threaten thousands of US jobs, and stifle US innovation by unfairly and arbitrarily targeting a handful of companies who used just 16 per cent of the new H-1B visas in the financial year 2016 while imposing no new requirements on the vast majority of companies that use the visas to do the same exact same things," Mr Chandrashekhar said.

Defending the bill, Congressman Darrell Issa, who presented it, said lawmakers have a responsibility to ensure that H-1B is not abused by those misusing it to outsource jobs and undercut American workers.

"The loopholes left open in H-1B have allowed a small handful of companies to game the system and crowd out employers who need the limited slots available to bring in the best and brightest individuals from around the world," he said.


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