WASHINGTON (6 January 2017) — Reps. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Scott Peters (D-Calif.) have introduced legislation to combat outsourcing within the H-1B visa program. While the bill recognizes how destructive the H-1B program can be, it doesn’t do nearly enough to reign in outsourcing companies or protect American jobs.
“Hundreds of Americans lost their jobs to the H-1B program in Rep. Issa and Peters’ congressional districts,” IEEE-USA President Karen Pedersen said. “Yet their bill will allow thousands more jobs to be lost in the future.”
“It is simply unacceptable — at any wage rate — for companies to fire Americans and replace them with non-Americans who will never be allowed to become citizens.”
The “Protect and Grow American Jobs Act,” reintroduced Wednesday, raises the minimum salary companies have to pay their H-1B workers to avoid complying with regulations protecting U.S. and H-1B workers. Under the bill, the current threshold of $60,000 would increase to $100,000. The legislation would also eliminate an exemption from the regulations for H-1B workers with master’s degrees.
IEEE-USA has the following concerns about the bill:
- No wage rate is acceptable for companies to replace American workers with employees who are non-citizens.
- Compensation is more than just salary. Employing H-1B workers can save companies money on retirement costs, healthcare costs, training costs and virtually every other benefit.
- H-1B workers can be dismissed at will without any legal complications, negating decades of hard-fought worker protections.
In Issa and Peters’ San Diego-area congressional districts, hundreds of American employees of Southern California Edison were replaced by workers on H-1B visas. The company hired a firm whose business model is to outsource American jobs to lower-wage foreign employees. The American workers were forced to train their replacements to get severance packages.
IEEE-USA believes that, if companies really need to hire non-American employees inside the United States, they should be allowed to do so. But as American citizens, not temporary guest workers. Real immigration, built on green cards and citizenship, strengthens the U.S. economy and creates jobs for all Americans. The temporary H-1B program is popular with corporations specifically because it does not.
IEEE-USA calls on Congress to demonstrate its opposition to H-1B outsourcing by prohibiting it. Anything short of this is implicit permission for the job losses to continue.
“Outsourcing companies use the H-1B program specifically because it does not allow workers to become Americans,” Pedersen said. “It enables companies to avoid having an American workforce, while still enjoying the benefits of doing business in the United States.”
Issa press release on the bill: https://issa.house.gov/news-room/press-releases/issa-introduces-bill-stop-outsourcing-american-jobs
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Contact: John Yaglenski
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