Reform bill seeks to grant visa priority to high skilled individuals

On January 24th, California Democratic Rep. Zoe Lofgren proposed a new legislation with the intention of curbing H-1B visa abuse. The High-Skilled Integrity and Fairness Act of 2017 intends to fill the limited, 85,000 annual, H-1B visa spots with highly-paid skilled workers and prevent American jobs from being undercut by underpaid foreign nationals. Lofgren plans to enhance the H-1B approval process by eliminating the lottery system and granting visas based on wages. Lofgren suggests her bill will use market forces to give priority to companies willing to pay the most for foreign labor. The bill will thus eliminate the minimum pay qualification from H-1B visas by encouraging firms to pay wages 200{d3e4c3007f92404e9ca9c26a6bf48477888b9226cd35406b8d671b952349c559} higher than the prevailing wage in order to receive priority. A three-level formula breaking up average wages between the top 2/3 and the bottom 2/3 would determine the order by which H-1B visas will be prioritized. It will begin with employers willing to pay 200{d3e4c3007f92404e9ca9c26a6bf48477888b9226cd35406b8d671b952349c559} of level three (mean of the top 2/3 of wages surveyed), then employers willing to pay 150{d3e4c3007f92404e9ca9c26a6bf48477888b9226cd35406b8d671b952349c559} of level three and continue through the two other tiers.

The main goal of the High-Skilled Integrity and Fairness Act of 2017 is to bring talent to the U.S.

In addition, the High-Skilled Integrity and Fairness Act of 2017 will remove the ‘per country’ capacity for employment based immigrant visas in order to equalize the opportunity for individuals to obtain a visa regardless of nationality. This will ensure that the best talent is let in to the United States. Lofgren also plans through her bill to allocate 20{d3e4c3007f92404e9ca9c26a6bf48477888b9226cd35406b8d671b952349c559} of the annual visa allotment to startup companies (50 or fewer employers) to help protect against outsourcing by giving small businesses the opportunity to hire high-skilled workers from abroad. The bill also helps remove hurdles students face in trying to change status from F-1 to lawful permanent residence.

Interested in finding out more? This D’Alessio Law Group blog is here to educate our readers on all work visa topics but we understand that sometimes this can create more questions. We can guide you through the steps you need to take in order to be informed about your visa options. Give our office a call at (310) 909-3934 or e-mail for more information so we can book you a consultation with one of our attorneys!


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