What you need to know about new legislation on H-1B visa

The legislation proposes doubling the minimum salary of H-1B visa holders.

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The introduction of a legislation on H-1B visa in the US House of Representatives has led to a slump in India's BSE IT index. The legislation, called the High-Skilled Integrity and Fairness Act of 2017, will make it difficult for American firms to hire foreign workers, including IT professionals from India.

What you need to know about new legislation on H-1B visa

Here is what you need to know about the new proposed legislation:

  1. The legislation proposes doubling the minimum salary of H-1B visa holders to $130,000 (around Rs 88.2 lacs). This would lessen the gap between wages being paid to American workers as compared to foreign workers, and would discourage outsourcing.
  2. The current H-1B minimum wage is $60,000 (around Rs. 40.7 lacs), which was established in 1989.
  3. The legislation also proposes eliminating the 'lowest pay' category.
  4. California Congressman Zoe Lofgren, who introduced the bill, said his legislation would help create jobs in America and not replace them.
  5. The legislation sets aside 20 per cent of the annually allocated H-1B visas for small and start-up employers.
  6. It removes visa hurdles for students and other temporary visa holders by building a bridge from F-1 student status to Lawful Permanent Residence.
  7. The legislation tightens employee protection by stipulating that employers may not reduce beneficiary wages.
  8. It proposes that that employers first offer a vacant position to an equally or better qualified American worker before seeking an H-1B or L-1 visa holder.
  9. These proposed measures have triggered speculation among Indian IT companies as India recieves highest H-1B visas issued worldwide.
  10. Reports say that more than 60 per cent of the US employees of Infosys are H-1B holders. The IT giant, had in its annual report, cited an increase in visa costs as among factors that could hurt its profitability.
  11. Availibility of talented workforce at costs much lesser than American employees is one of the main reasons behind outsourcing of jobs to India.

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