While a number of US-based technology companies have long been lobbying for the number of H-1B visas allocated to foreign workers each year to be increased, two Senators have introduced legislation in the Senate designed to decrease the annual quota.
The Bill proposed by Democrat Senator Bill Nelson, and Republican Jeff Sessions, would see the current quota of 85,000 H-1B visas each year cut by 15,000. The remaining 70,000 would then only be awarded to the highest wage earners.
They say that implementing these changes would ensure that the H-1B visa programme is once again used as it was originally intended: to attract foreign workers with highly specialised skills not found among the available US workforce.
“By cutting the number of visas available each year and requiring those visas be given to the highest-wage earners first, this bill directly targets outsourcing companies that rely on lower-wage foreign workers to replace equally- qualified US workers,” said Nelson.
If passed, the Bill would also require employers to prove that they tried to recruit American workers prior to hiring an H-1B visa holder and bar companies that employ more than 50 people from hiring any additional H-1B employees if more than half of their employees are already H-1B visa holders.
The H1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations.