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H1B Workers - Congressman introduces a Bill for flexibility in changing jobs 

Raja Krishnamoorthi a Congressman has introduced legislation in the Representatives House. It aims at giving flexibility to H-1B workers for changing jobs and reduces the backlog in issuing Green Cards. Another objective is expansion of education-based exclusions from country wise caps for these visa holders. He has joined Republican, Mike Coffman, to introduce H R 6794, the Immigration Innovation Act of 2018. In case there is a success in its passing by the Congress and the Presidential proclamation, it would be a great step in reforming and streamlining the visa program. Besides it will increase investment in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Education for students of college programs.

The aim of the Bill

The aim of the bill is:
  • To increase investments in the education system,
  • Guarantee imparting of training to American workers for performing highly technical jobs
  • Developing sufficient skills in the workforce,
  • Reforming the immigration system for top skilled workers permitting the promising businessmen to compete globally
The immigration laws need to answer the aspirations of a high-tech workforce of the USA. Additionally they must also meet the requirements of H1-B visa applicants/families. The law proposes a ban on employers to hire such visa holders in replacing local workers. It will also boost funding for post-secondary S.T.E.M education, as well as at the university level. The fee collected for these visas and from the Green Cards would fund state-administered promotion of STEM education. It will also address the issues of workers training, research initiatives and financial aid.

Use in the future

These investments in training the workforce will decrease the demand for overseas workers, and help in the growth of economy. The bill will also removes prevalent yearly exclusion cap on H-1B visas for such holders who possess a US master's or higher degree. It will also create prioritization for lottery in the cap-related petitions in this order:
  • US masters or higher,
  • Foreign PhDs,
  • US STEM bachelor's degrees
The beneficiaries will get a grace period permitting them to change jobs without losing their lawful status. The employers who hire in excess of  five H-1B employees will have to pay a penalty when employees work for a limited period. It will prohibit employer to hire such worker replacing a US worker. Furthermore it will provide work authorization for dependent children/spouses of workers at the prevalent wage. It will eliminate country wise limit for green cards and adjust country caps for family-based green cards.

A new Green Card category

It also proposes to create a new Green Card category to permit local employers for sponsoring foreign professionals educated in a university by using a different path from H-1B. The employers must offer prevailing annual wage of USD 100,000. The bill will make the F-1 students possible to seek PR status while he/she is a student or is undergoing Optional Practical Training.

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