US companies to ban H-1B visa holders

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US Senate
Washington, Feb 6: Indian software professionals will have a tough time ahead if there would be amendments in the economic stimulus bill introduced by the US Senators. The two amendments would prevent US companies receiving the federal bailout money if they hire H-1B visa holders.

Indian software professionals will be majorly hit when the amendments will be passed by the senate as they are the major beneficiary of the H-1B visa.

The amendment has been co-sponsored by the Republican Senator from Iowa, Chuck Grassley and the Senator Bernie Sanders from Vermont.

Introducing the amendment on the floor of the Senate, Senator Sanders said, "It is essentially saying that there would be a suspension of H-1B program of any institution, which would be receiving TARP (Troubled Assets Relief Program) funds for just one year."

Seeking bi-partisan support to his amendment, Sanders said, "I firmly believe that companies going through layoffs that employ H-1B visas (holding workers) have a moral obligation to protect American workers by putting them first during these difficult times."

He stated further that a recent media report had stated an American Bank Industry requesting for 21,000 visas for foreign guest workers over the last six years.

"Hiring American workers for limited available jobs should be a top priority for businesses taking taxpayer money through the TARP program," Senator Grassley said, adding if banks are going to be getting American taxpayer money than they should be hiring American workers.

"With the unemployment rate at 7.2 per cent, there is no need for companies to hire foreign workers through the H1-B programme when there are plenty of qualified Americans looking for jobs," Grassley said.

He said he supports the H-1B program, but it should be used in the way it was intended as a temporary measure to supplement a company's need for hi-tech or specialised workers when none are available in the US.

Observing that H-1B and other work visa programs were never intended to replace qualified American workers, Grassley argued now that many qualified bank employees are unemployed, banks who want to hire workers shouldn't have a hard time finding what they need from an American workforce.

OneIndia News (With inputs from Agencies)

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