June 12, 2016
June 11, 2016
Draft bill would boost H-1B worker pay for big visa users
Pay for H-1B workers may increase significantly if a draft bill authored by Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) gets the bipartisan backing it will need to pass Congress.
The bill primarily relies on salary to distribute the visas. Firms that pay salaries well above the prevailing wage will have the best chance of getting a visa.
Lofgren has been working with Rep. Darrel Issa (R-Calif.), whose support in the GOP-controlled House is critical. The measure is now being distributed to stakeholders for feedback.
The "High-Skilled Integrity and Fairness Act of 2015" has been in the works since last year, is already drafted and appears to be complete. But that doesn't mean it will actually be introduced. Both sides continue to talk and there are no immediate plans to move forward on the legislation.
(To read the official summary of the bill, download the PDF.)
The H-1B visa is currently distributed via a lottery because requests for visas routinely exceed the annual 85,000-visa cap. While the bill doesn't eliminate the lottery in its entirety, it minimizes its importance.
The proposal is designed to encourage employers to pay 150% or 200% of the prevailing wage level. These employers will probably be assured of visa approval.
The prevailing wage system has four levels. Level 1 is for entry level; level 4 for the most experienced and capable employees. Prevailing wages vary widely nationally, depending on location.
In Gainesville, Fla., for instance, the prevailing wage for a level 4 computer programmer is $67,621. In San Francisco, it's $123,885.
A level 4 salary that is 200% of prevailing wage for a programmer in Gainesville would be $135,242. In San Francisco, it would be $247,770. (For prevailing wage information see the Foreign Labor Certification Data Center.)
The San Francisco employer doesn't gain an advantage over the Gainesville employer in the visa distribution because of the higher pay differential. What's important is a company's willingness to pay a percentage above the prevailing wage.
And wages alone don't set a priority in the visa distribution. Priority is given first to employers "that hire mainly U.S. workers." Next in line are H-1B dependent employers.
There are different thresholds for determining dependency, but for large users a dependent employer is someone with 15% or more of their employees on temporary visas.
The legislation sets aside 20% of the annual allocation of H-1B visas to firms with 50 or fewer employees. Small and start-up businesses would not be subject to the wage-based allocation.
For H-1B-dependent employers, the bill changes the $60,000 salary exemption level to a formula that would raise the minimum to about $130,000, based on the 35th percentile above the median for the most recent national annual wage for Computer and Mathematical Occupations.
H-1B dependent firms pay salaries of at least $60,000 - a figure set in 1998 - to get an exemption from rules that bar them from displacing a U.S. worker. The bill also eliminates the master's degree exemption.
But the legislation also includes what may be a new loophole by excluding workers from this higher wage if their employer has petitioned for permanent residence or a green card.
The bill also eliminates per-country caps on green cards. Employment-based green cards are capped at 140,000 a year, with no more than 7% from any one country. Such a move would help green card applicants in China and India, in particular, who make up the majority of those seeking permanent residency.
Ron Hira, an associate professor of public policy at Howard University, sees a number of problems with the legislation. The high wage required of H-1B dependent firms, such as Infosys, Cognizant and Tata Consultancy Services, may help non-dependent firms, such as IBM and Accenture, said Hira.
All these firms compete in the IT services sector, but non-dependent firms can continue paying the prevailing wage at level 1 for a 40% discount over an American worker, said Hira.
And, he said, visa-dependent firms could develop workarounds. A dependent employer could avoid paying the $130,000 wage by attesting that they won't displace U.S. workers. But Hira suspects affected firms may "figure out ways to meet the letter of the regulations but not the spirit."
Dan Costa, the director of immigration law and policy research at the Economic Policy Institute, believes a more direct approach is possible. "I think it's crazy that they would just create a new, more expensive exemption for replacing U.S. workers, rather than just prohibit altogether the ability of companies to replace U.S. workers with H-1Bs," said Costa.
The visa-dependent firms can apply for green cards for all their workers to get around the dependence status, as well as bring in more L-1 visa workers (another temporary visa used for company transfers). The green card exemption is a "huge loophole," said Hira.
Other strategies by dependent firms could also include merging with non-dependent firms, said Hira.
June 5, 2016
June 4, 2016
For Many New US Citizens This Year, Voting is a Priority
May 1, 2016
April 19, 2016
- Extend the amount of time a current H-1B worker may remain in the United States;
- Change the terms of employment for current H-1B workers;
- Allow current H-1B workers to change employers; and
- Allow current H-1B workers to work concurrently in a second H-1B position.
April 11, 2016
Forbes’ Top 25 Places To Retire In The U.S. In 2016
Ultimate 2014 Disney World Christmas Guide Ultimate 2014 Disney World Christmas Guide Christmas and the holiday season at Walt D...
B1 B2 Visa - for travellers, tourists and short term business - A Visitor / Tourist Visa allows travelling to the USA for 3 reasons:B1 B2 Visa - for travellers, tourists and short term business A Visitor / Tourist Visa allows travelling to the USA for 3 reasons: 1...
2016 2015 Green Card Lottery DV2016 (Diversity Immigrant Visa Program) Results Announced! Winner List !2016 2015 Green Card Lottery DV2016 (Diversity Immigrant Visa Program) Results Announced! Winner List ! May 10 , 2015 ...
Seven ways to get Green Card for International Students: Job Sponsorship, Marriage, Asylum, Green Card lottery, Military Service, Sponsor...
GREEN CARD LOTTERY DV-2017: DRAWING IN MAY Dear US Green Card Lottery participants of 2015: It’s coming very soon and the wait will ...
Optimizing your blog for search engines Lately, blog optimization has been catching on like a wild fire. People have been blogging about th...
Forbes’ Top 25 Places To Retire In The U.S. In 2016 Choosing a retirement spot can be overwhelming given the number of possible local...
On the taco trail in L.A. Story Highlights El Chato serves tiny two-biter tacos for a $1 each Tacos Arabes adds Middle Eastern seasonin...
THE 15 BEST SKYLINES IN THE UNITED STATES [HIGH QUALITY PHOTOS] People love to debate which city in the United States has...
The 2014 Rio de Janeiro Queen of Carnival has officially been selected, and thus the Carnival season had a new boost: Letícia ...