Last month, the House Judiciary Committee kicked a bill affecting the H-1B system off its schedule. This might not have been a bad thing.
H-1B bill pulled from House committee vote amid complaints – ComputerWorld
Here’s the story. Two Representatives, Darrell Issa (R-CA), and Scott Peters (D-CA), introduced the “Protect and Grow American Jobs Act” earlier this year. If passed, it would have modified existing H-1B law about replacing U.S. workers.
Currently, a business cannot replace a U.S. worker with an H-1B visa worker unless they made a “good faith” effort to find an American for the job. However, the law had a loophole: If the H-1B visa holder is paid $60,000 or holds a Master’s degree, then you could replace U.S workers freely.
The Issa-Peters Bill would have raised the $60,000 amount to $100,000. It would also remove the Master’s degree exemption. Would that help protect American IT workers?
Not really. For one, many IT salaries are already above $100,000. For two, there’s a provision in the bill which adds a new loophole!
"the term 'exempt H-1B nonimmigrant' means an H-1B nonimmigrant who receives wages (including cash bonuses) at an annual rate equal to at least the greater of $100,000 or the applicable adjusted ..."
The bolded text is the loophole. A business could pay an H-1B a $60,000 salary, with a $40,000 “bonus” after meeting some conditions (the article uses reaching performance goals).
That’s all it would take for businesses to keep replacing American workers with H-1Bs. Even after “reform.”
A source from a tech-related lobbying organization said that H-1B reform is “probably dead in 2016.” The group initially supported the Issa-Peters bill, but withdrew their support once they discovered the “cash bonuses” loophole. They hope for renewed reform attempts in 2017.
The Issa-Peters bill does show some federal politicians interested in H-1B reform. But closing one loophole & opening another doesn’t help.