On March 18, 2013, Senator Chuck Grassley and Senator Sherrod Brown introduced a bill that they claim will bring reforms to the H-1B and L visa programs and help ensure that Americans are given top consideration when applying for jobs.
Titled the‘H-1B and L-1 Visa Reform Act of 2013’ (S. 600),the bill requires all companies to make a good faith effort to hire Americans before hiring and petitioning foreign nationals who will need H-1B and L-1 visas. Some key features of the bill include:
- Requiring prospective H-1B employers to list available positions on a Department of Labor sponsored website for a period of 30 days prior to petitioning for foreign labor;
- Requiring employers that employ 50 or more U.S. workers to attest that less than 50% of the employer’s workforce are H-1B and L visa holders in order for their H1B applications to be accepted;
- Requiring that employers filing H-1B applications to submit copies of the Form W-2 for each H-1B visa holder employed during the previous period;
- Modifications to the wage requirements for H-1B visa holders;
- Prohibiting companies from outsourcing visa holders to other companies, with a waiver provided for companies that can attest that they have not displaced a U.S. worker and that it is not a “labor for hire” arrangement;
- Requiring New Office L visa holders to prove that a legitimate business is being set up in the United States; and,
- Increasing administrative fines per violation from $1000 to $2000 and from $5000 to $10,000 for willful misrepresentation and restricting the ability of such violating companies to participate in the future recruiting of H-1B and L-1 employees.
The bill comes just days after more than 100 executives from the technology sector, including industry leaders like Steve Case, Eric Schmidt, Mark Zuckerberg, and Marissa Mayer, called on President Obama and the Congress to approve legislation to reform the country’s high-skilled immigration system to make it a more open and flexible one that welcomes highly-skilled workers.