While the Donald Trump-led administration is showing no signs of making changes to the country’s H1B visa policy, Indian-American Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi has reportedly introduced a new legislation in the House of Representatives which might offer some relief to H-1B workers. The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that US companies use to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise.
The new legislation, if it gets passed, will allow employees working on H-1B visa to switch jobs without losing legal status while allowing their spouses holding H-4 visas the right to continue their careers, reported Financial Express. The bill is also expected to reduce green card backlog.
“To develop the skills of our domestic workforce, our bill increases investments in our education system to guarantee that American workers are trained for high-tech jobs,” said Krishnamoorthi. “It also reforms the visa system for highly-skilled workers which allows American businesses to compete in the global economy.”
Mike Coffman, a Republican lawmaker, also joined Krishnamoorthi to introduce HR 6794, the ‘Immigration Innovation Act of 2018′ in the House of Representatives last week. The legislation also proposes to ban employer companies from hiring H-1B holders to replace American workers while increasing funding for STEM education at the K-12, post-secondary, and university levels.
According to the two lawmakers, the fees collected for H-1B visas and conditional Green Cards under the newly proposed bill will be diverted to state-administered funds to promote domestic STEM education and worker training, including financial aid and research initiatives. The funds used for advanced training of the domestic workforce would reduce demand for foreign workers ultimately helping the American economy to grow.
The bill in question subjects employers hiring more than five H-1B employees to pay a penalty for each employee who worked less than 25 percent of the first work-authorization year and prohibits them from hiring an H-1B visa worker to replace a US worker. It also provides work authorization for spouses and dependent children of H-1B visa workers at the prevailing wage.
The proposed bill will also enable F-1 student visa holders to seek permanent resident status while a student or during Optional Practical Training.