Two bills have been introduced in the House of Representatives that would restrict employers’ use of the H-1B visa program.

The bills coincide with a congressional hearing before a Senate immigration subcommittee last Thursday on the misuse of H-1B visas. During that hearing, an American tech worker testified that before being laid off, he was forced to train an H-1B visa holder who would be his replacement.

The “American Jobs First Act,” H.R. 4598, would require employers to pay a minimum salary of $110,000 to H-1B employees, bar employers from hiring H-1B workers within two years of a layoff or strike, impose a host of new attestation requirements on employers and eliminate the Diversity Visa program. The bill was introduced by Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., and closely mirrors a Senate bill introduced in December by Senators Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., and Ted Cruz, R-Texas.

The “Keeping American Jobs Act,” H.R. 4609, introduced by Reps. Derek Kilmer, D-Wash., and Doug Collins, R-Ga., would require employers to attest that they have not and will not displace U.S. workers if the Labor Department determines that their primary purpose in filing an H-1B petition is to lay off American workers or to send jobs offshore.

BAL Analysis: These new bills and last week’s Senate hearing indicate ongoing congressional interest in adding restrictions and enforcement mechanisms to the H-1B visa program. BAL is continuing to work with clients to monitor and influence policy discussions.

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