The house judiciary committee voted to bring the Protect and Grow American Jobs Act to the full house floor for consideration after nearly a year of hard work with two other H1B visa reform bills.
Issa’s bill addressed the problem of H1B visa abuses, raising the minimum annual wage for H1B visa holders to $90,000 and banning American companies from replacing American workers with foreign ones. At least 20% of the American workforce is H1B visa holders.
We see H1B visa holders working every day. These jobs require some formal training and can be done by veterans, unemployed blue-collar workers, older workers whose careers have been cut off, and women returning to work after spending time raising children. Indeed, earlier this year, Goldman Sachs estimated that H1B visa holders had nearly 1m jobs in us, including at least 12 percent of technology jobs.
H1B once played a valuable role, providing growth companies with the ability to hire foreign workers with specific skills the company could not find among us job seekers.
In 2014, Microsoft laid off 18,000 employees, and Hewlett Packard laid off nearly 85,000 in 2015 and 2016. However, importing IT workers does not save a lot of money in the short run, and in the long run, IT is a failed strategy.
How can a short-term employee with an H1B visa, most likely with a foreign-based human resources agency, represent a brand with the same pride and care as a local employee?
If American industry is to take full advantage of next-generation enterprise technology and remain at the center of innovation, we will need IT people at all levels who can thrive in a changing business environment. The mainstream desire is not to end H1B but to revert to its original intent. The common theme of these bills is also common sense. They increase the minimum wage for H1B visa holders, mandate that these workers must have a skill that employers cannot easily source from the American worker pool, limit the number of H1B visas to companies with more than 50 employees, and prohibit certain companies from replacing American workers and workers.