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Legislation offered by Senators Durbin (D-IL) and Grassley (R-IA) may finally remove the handcuffs that have long prevented effective federal policing of H-1b job outsourcing based on discrimination against US workers.  

The key question raised by the introduction of the H-1b & L-1 Visa Reform Act is, "Could this really be true?"  My resounding answer is YES!  I'll be posting 6 diaries to explain how the bill will accomplish this.

Corporate visa programs are being decoupled from immigration reform and amnesty.  The National Immigration Forum and Change to Win have dropped their support for expanding these programs, joining the AFL-CIO and Bright Future Jobs (no illusions here that we aren't more than a bit player!) in calling for limiting these programs. I'll address their proposals in a future post.

Kossacks should walk away from these diaries confident that the subservience of the US government to corporate desires will be overturned with the passage of this bill.  In fact, it will force corporations to plead with DOL Secretary Solis asking, "Mother, may I place my visa staff on a client's site--with your permission?"

This bill is sophisticated and nuanced.  When Rajiv Dubhadkar, a former H-1b,and I met with Durbin's aides in January, 2007 to request they reform these visa programs--they, like most Americans--had no idea of the legal bypass of US workers, the "h-1b only" want ads, the unemployment of Indian H-1bs or the extent of Indian-on-Indian exploitation courtesy of corporate visa programs.

While the first bill in 2007 hit the mark, during the intervening 2 years, Durbin's office has been diligently investigating how companies actually use the program.  In 2008, Durbin's office asked a series of about 50 questions to the top users of the program, focusing in on recruitment, hiring, and staffing policies of these companies.  

Congrats to the Senate Judiciary staff for getting "up close and personal" on the discrimination of US professionals resulting in offshore labor contracting!


1.  companies won't be able to offshore jobs or act as labor contractors
All employers must keep their visa staff on-site which will destroy labor contracting and offshoring! Durbin's bill says, "The employer shall not place, outsource, lease, or otherwise contract for the services or placement of H-1B nonimmigrants with another employer unless the employer of the alien has been granted a waiver."

Under the current law, companies have built their business models around placing visa staff in outsourcing and offshoring arrangements.  

2. companies CAN place visa staff on a client's site if they ask DOL Secretary Solis for a waiver, establishing that:
   a. the employer of the H-1b must show that his/her client hasn't laid off US workers 6 months before and 6 months after the H-1b reports to the client's site;
   b. the employer of the H-1b must show that he/she is managing the H-1bs production and not the client;
   c. "the placement of the H-1B nonimmigrant is not essentially an arrangement to provide labor for hire" for the client.

3. companies that keep visa staff on their site can't layoff Americans for 6 months before or after hiring H-1b staff
All employers must attest that they haven't laid off similar US workers 6 months before requesting a permit to fill their job opening with a foreign citizen and won't do so for the next 6 months.  

Under current H-1b law, approx. 90% of US employers can lay off Americans in permanent jobs and replace them with a private tethered workforce. Despite the recession, Microsoft and IBM are able to do so now.

4. companies that post "h-1b only" ads won't be able to fill the job with foreign citizens they have specified in the ad.
Companies that post H-1B want ads or show "priority or a preference in the hiring process" or has "solely recruited individuals who are or who will be H-1B nonimmigrants to fill such position" won't be able to fill the job with an H-1b or foreign citizen.

Under current H-1B law, companies can solely recruit foreign citizens or H-1Bs, specifying that the opening is only available to these 2 groups.

5. if a company has more than 50 workers and half of them are on corporate visas, the company is barred from the H-1B program.

Under the current law, no company is barred from the program, even if their entire staff is on corporate visas.  This is upsetting the offshore labor contractors, as you can see in this video:

If you want to help pass this bill, join
Bright Future Jobs. Contribute as much as you can...


Originally posted to Donna Conroy on Tue May 05, 2009 at 08:20 AM PDT.

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