Tuesday, March 19, 2013

S. 600: The H-1B and L-1 Visa Reform Act of 2013

Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley introduced S.600 "The H-1B and L-1 Visa Reform Act of 2013" in the Senate to reform and reduce fraud and abuse in certain visa programs for aliens working temporarily in the United States. Following is the summary of this bill:
  • Requires all companies to make a good faith effort to hire Americans first.
  • Requires 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.
  • Prohibits employers from advertising only to H-1B visa holders.
  • Prohibits companies from outsourcing visa holders to other companies. A waiver is provided for companies that can attest that they have not displaced a U.S. worker, and if it is not a “labor for hire” arrangement.
  • Provides that the wages paid to H-1B visaholders must be the highest of (1) the locally-determined prevailing wage for the occupational classification in the area of employment; (2) the median average wage for all workers in the occupational classification in the area of employment; or (3) the median wage for skill level 2 in the occupational classification found in the most recent occupational employment statistics survey.
  • Increases the ability of the departments of Labor and Homeland Security to enforce worker protections by allowing random audits, and removes burdensome requirements for initiating Department of Labor investigations.
  • Ensures that an H-1B application filed by an employer that employs 50 or more U.S. workers will not be accepted unless the employer attests that less than 50 percent of the employer’s workforce are H-1B and L visa holders.
  • Requires Department of Labor employees to share information about H-1B petitions with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
  • Requires that each employer filing an application for an H-1B visa holder must submit to the Department of Labor the W-2 tax form for each H-1B visa holder employed during the previous period.
  • Increases administrative fines per violation from $1000 to $2000 and from $5000 to $10,000 for willful misrepresentation and restricts the ability of these companies to participate in the future recruiting of H-1B and L-1 employees.
  • Requires State Department consular officers to provide a brochure to visa holders about their rights under the H-1B and L visa programs. The employee would also get copies of his immigration paperwork, and a list of employer obligations (including wage and working condition requirements).
  • Requires an L visa holder to prove that a legitimate business is being set up in the United States, modifies the wage requirements and outplacement rules, provides L visa holders with a brochure about their rights, and requires a report on the blanket petition application process.

Press Release:  http://www.grassley.senate.gov/news/Article.cfm?customel_dataPageID_1502

Full Text Of the Bill (initial draft): http://www.grassley.senate.gov/judiciary/upload/Immigration-03-18-13-H-1B-reform-bill-text.pdf

Full Text Of the Bill (official): http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c113:S.600:

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