IT Reshoring News

October 14, 2020

White House Strengthens Rules on H-1B Wage Accountability

New rules have come down to improve accountability within the H-1B worker visa program. The White House wants to bring foreign worker wages more in line with American wages, to help ensure that cheaper foreign labor doesn't undercut American workers.

The Trump Administration is making some new changes to the H-1B Visa program.

This is different than just cutting the total number of visas the U.S. can issue. No, this move's more about accountability for the companies who hire foreign workers over Americans.

The Administration issued two "Interim Final Rules," which the Office of the Federal Register must publish in order to take effect. These rules institute several operational changes for the H-1B program, including:

  • Standards for identifying wage levels in practice
  • Identifying an 'appropriate' entry-level wage
  • Limiting staffing firms to one-year terms for H-1B workers

The first change affects standards used for identifying the wage levels of workers here on H-1Bs. It basically shines a light on exactly how much big corporations pay these workers. They're supposed to pay the same rate as they would a skilled American worker.

On paper, that often looks true. In reality, this does not always (or even often) happen. Foreign workers receive lower wages for the same amount, or even more work.

The second change comes into play after that. It requires organizations hiring H-1B workers to pay them at least 45% of the prevailing wage level for the position. The previous rules only required a minimum of 17% of prevailing wages!

The third change restricts the international staffing firms that apply for thousands of H-1B visas each year, by imposing a one-year term on their visas' validity. The firms must re-validate their visas annually. This will make flooding the market with cheap foreign labor much harder (and more expensive).


A Step in the Right Direction

Accountability is part & parcel of all international activities. The more open & accountable programs like the H-1B are, the better they adhere to the original intent—helping high-skilled foreign workers come to America and do their best work. Without harming the careers of skilled American workers at the same time.

You'll find the full list of changes & rules at the link.

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