Senate H-1B bill seeks to give U.S. workers a better shot at tech job openings
Legislation would also boost Labor Department's enforcement powers on visa program
Computerworld - Two U.S. senators have proposed legislation that would toughen the H-1B visa program -- especially its enforcement provisions -- while also attempting to give U.S. workers first crack at technology job openings.
The bill, called the H-1B and L-1 Visa Fraud and Abuse Prevention Act of 2007, was introduced in Congress last Thursday by Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who announced the filing on Monday. As part of the announcement, the two lawmakers said the measure would authorize the U.S. Department of Labor to hire 200 additional employees "to administer, oversee, investigate and enforce the H-1B program."
It also would enable the DOL to conduct random audits of employers that use H-1B visas and give the agency more power to investigate H-1B applications. Currently, the DOL can investigate applications only for "completeness and obvious inaccuracies." Durbin and Grassley said their legislation would give the DOL authority to check applications for "clear indicators of fraud or misrepresentation of material fact" and double the review period from seven days to 14.
In addition, the measure would require companies to advertise job openings for 30 days on the DOL's Web site before submitting applications to hire H-1B workers. And the DOL would be required to post on its site summaries of all the H-1B applications it receives.
The bill also includes a variety of other provisions, including one that would prohibit employers from hiring H-1B workers and then outsourcing them to other businesses and another that would require companies to pay prevailing wages to both H-1B and L-1 visa holders.
Supporters of the H-1B program, primarily IT industry trade groups, said foreign nationals are needed to fill critical jobs for which there aren't enough U.S. workers. But opponents claim that H-1B holders are being used to depress the wages of U.S. workers and to support offshoring efforts.
Durbin and Grassley announced the filing of their bill on the same day that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agency began accepting H-1B applications (download .pdf) for the federal government's 2008 fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1. Demand for the visas is expected to be brisk, with the annual cap of 65,000 standard visas potentially being reached within a day or two. An additional 20,000 H-1B visas are set aside for workers with advanced degrees from U.S. universities.
A spokesman for the IEEE-USA, the political lobbying arm of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc. said the Washington-based professional association would support the Durbin-Grassley legislation. The IEEE-USA has long sought reforms to the H-1B program.
Compete America, a Washington-based industry group that supports raising the H-1B visa cap, didn't have an immediate comment about the new bill. In contrast, when U.S. Reps. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) last month introduced an immigration reform bill that included a proposal to increase the annual H-1B cap to as many as 180,000 visas, Compete America quickly issued a statement in support of that measure.
- 15 Non-Certified IT Skills Growing in Demand
- How 19 Tech Titans Target Healthcare
- Twitter Suffering From Growing Pains (and Facebook Comparisons)
- Agile Comes to Data Integration
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
If you use ‘password,’ one the worst passwords, as your password, fail to keep antivirus protection updated and don’t bother to deploy security patches to close critical vulnerabilities, then maybe you should consider working for the cybersecurity-clueless federal government; you’d fit right in, according to Senator Tom Coburn's cybersecurity and critical infrastructure report.
- IT Certification Study Tips
- Register for this Computerworld Insider Study Tip guide and gain access to hundreds of premium content articles, cheat sheets, product reviews and more.
- Changing the Way Government Works: Four Technology Trends that Drive Down Costs and Increase Productivity
- This paper discusses four technology-based approaches to improving processes and increasing
productivity while driving down department and agency costs.
- Pay-as-you-Grow Data Protection: IBM Tivoli's Full-featured Data Protection Suite for Small to Medium Businesses
- IBM Tivoli Storage Manager Suite for Unified Recovery gives small and medium businesses the opportunity to start out with only the individual solutions...
- Streamline Data Protection with IBM Tivoli Storage Manager Operations Center
- IBM Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM) has been an industry-standard data protection solution for two decades. But, where most competitors focus exclusively on Backup...
- Simplify and Consolidate Data Protection for Better Business Results
- Learn about IBM® Tivoli® Storage Manager Operations Center, which provides advanced visualization, built-in analytics and integrated workflow automation features that leapfrog traditional backup...
- HP HAVEn: See the big picture in Big Data
- HP HAVEn is the industry's first comprehensive, scalable, open, and secure platform for Big Data. Enterprises are drowning in a sea of data... All Government IT White Papers
- Meg Whitman presents Unlocking IT with Big Data During this Web Event you will hear Meg Whitman, President and CEO, HP discuss HAVEn - the #1 Big Data platform, as well...
- The New Way to Work Knowledge Vault This Knowledge Vault focuses on how, in today's increasingly virtual world, it's more important than ever to engage deeply with employees, suppliers, partners,...
- Getting Ready for BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10.2 Find out how BlackBerry® Enterprise Service 10 helps organizations address the full spectrum of EMM challenges, while balancing the needs of both the...
- Containerization Options: How to Choose the Best DLP Solution for Your Organization This webcast outlines a framework for making the right choice when it comes to containerization approaches, along with the pros and cons of...
- Mobile Apps and Devices Slash Customer Cycle Time Consolidated Engineering Laboratories' field employees used to collect data on triplicate forms that were sometimes hard to read and difficult to manage. After...
- All Government IT Webcasts