Score one for Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and his campaign against the H-1B immgrant visa program.
On Friday, Grassley, together with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) introduced an amendment to the TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) plan which would attempt to bar companies taking federal bailout money from displacing American workers with H-1B holders. In a press release today, Grassley says the Senate has approved his amendment and incorporated it into TARP legislation.
Except there’s one little problem with Grassley’s anti-H-1B plan: It won’t work. The new amendment requires TARP-takers “attesting to actively recruiting American workers; not displacing American workers with H-1B visa holders; and not replacing laid off American workers with foreign workers.”
Anyone who’s ever worked in the tech market knows employers regularly lie about “actively recruiting American workers,” and it’s common practice to document fake “recruitment efforts” by putting out help wanted ads and then ignoring all incoming resumes. After all, why even screen American candidates for a job with a going rate of $85K a year when someone has already been located in Bangalore who will do it for $50K? And because H-1B workers’ legal right to stay in the country is tied up with their job status, they’re even more attractive to employers as easily bullied workers.
it’s healthy the deeply flawed H-1B program is under fresh scrutiny, but the latest plan from Grassley amounts to little more than political grandstanding.
More from the India Times:
1. The employer can’t displace any similarly employed US worker with an H-1B hire within 90 days before or after applying for H-1B status or an extension of status.
2. The employer can’t place any H-1B worker at the worksite of another employer, meaning it can’t outsource a worker for a client, unless that employer first makes a “bona fide” inquiry as to whether the other employer has displaced or will displace a US worker within 90 days before or after the placement of the H-1B worker.
3. The employer has to take good-faith steps to recruit US workers for the job opening, at wages at least equal to those offered to the H-1B worker. The employer must offer the job to any US worker who applies and is equally or better qualified than the H-1B worker.
“These are hardly onerous expectations,” notes Ron Hira, professor of public policy at the Rochester Institute of Technology and an expert on H-1B visas..
Most of the H-1B use, and abuse, happens through relationships banks have with outsourcing firms,” says Hira. “I don’t think [the amendment] restricts them from working with those firms.” In other words, a bank could still legally force a laid-off American employee to train a replacement worker who is on an H-1B visa.
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