In the News

A? bill intended to prevent temporary foreign workers from displacing Americans could reach the House floor for a vote in coming months.

The Protect and Grow American Jobs Act, sponsored by Rep. Darrell Issa, passed the Judiciary committee by unanimous voice vote in November, a difficult feat for legislation modifying immigration law. The bill, co-sponsored by Rep. Scott Peters and Rep. Duncan Hunter, would tweak the H-1B visa program, which grants 3-year work visas to skilled workers.

“Unfortunately, loopholes in the program have allowed a small handful of employers to game the system to displace American workers and crowd out others who legitimately need the limited slots available to recruit individuals with unique skill sets not available here at home,” Issa said.

Demand for H-1B visas has outnumbered the 85,000 annual cap in recent years. Many of those visas go to employees from large consulting companies with headquarters in India.

Such companies are considered “H-1B dependent” companies and have additional requirements when requesting new visas. Issa’s bill would heighten those requirements by increasing the minimum salary required for H-1B employees and requiring more extensive reporting about efforts to hire American workers.

The bill also alters the definition of an H-1B dependent company, increasing the percentage of H-1B workers for companies of 50 or more employees to 20 percent from 15 percent.

“Highly skilled individuals that come to America through the H-1B visa program add tremendous value to the U.S. economy,” Issa said. “We have a responsibility to ensure this important program isn’t being abused by employers to undercut American jobs.”

Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose, objected to a previous version of the bill in 2016 because she didn’t think it went far enough to alter the program. Issa incorporated some of her suggestions to reach bipartisan agreement on the bill.