Immigration Enforcement

H-1B Amendment Survives Conference Committee

An H-1B-related amendment offered by Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Charles Grassley (R-IA) to the economic stimulus package has survived conference committee and was a part of the final bill signed by President Obama.  Entitled the “Employ American Workers Act,” the Sanders-Grassley Amendment seeks to limit entities that receive funds from the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) — established by last year’s $700 billion financial services sector bailout legislation — from displacing U.S. citizen workers. (CongressDaily, February 13, 2009).

The original text of the amendment as it was filed by Senators Sanders and Grassley would have barred any recipient of TARP funding from hiring any H-1B workers. (Congressional Record, S1590).  However, on the Senate floor, the Sanders Amendment was modified so that companies that receive TARP funding are not barred from hiring H-1B workers, but instead must follow the rules proscribed for so-called “H-1B Dependent Employers.”  (Congressional Record, S1669 & S1803).  These rules require employers who have significant numbers of H-1B employees (measured in proportion to the total workforce) to: (1) attest that they have made good-faith attempts to hire U.S. workers at prevailing wages (or industry-standard wages); (2) attest that their hiring of H-1B employees does not displace U.S. workers who have sought those same jobs; and (3) maintain paper records showing that they have complied with wage and other work condition standards.

The modified amendment was eventually adopted by voice vote. As modified, this language “isn’t as tough as what Senator Grassley originally proposed… [but instead the] modified amendment… makes TARP recipients jump through extra hoops before they can hire those foreign workers.”  (BusinessWeek, February 13, 2009).



February 17, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , ,

1 Comment »

  1. This is not as good as you might be led to believe. The immigration lawyers and guest workers know it too. Here is some info from an immigration lawyer site. The last paragraph states that they only have to make a “good faith” effort to hire an American. This means basically nothing.

    “USCIS offers clarification on stimulus bill’s impact on H-1B renewals; effects on change of status still being reviewed.

    In response to recent inquiries, the American Immigration Lawyer’s Association (AILA) liaison has forwarded the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) several questions requesting clarification on the details and exact impact of the new stimulus bill provision which increases the H-1B requirements for certain financial institutions. While AILA is still waiting on the USCIS to review several of these questions, USCIS has announced that the stimulus bill provision does not apply to H-1B extensions. However, USCIS is still reviewing the provision’s effects on requests to change to H-1B status. We will update when new information becomes available.

    The recent passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (stimulus bill) established new H-1B restrictions on banks and other financial service firms receiving Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) funds. The rules require TARP fund recipients to comply with the same rules implemented for H-1B dependent employers. This includes requirements that the employer has not “Displaced” a U. S. worker during the period commencing 90 days before the filing of an H-1B petition (not the filing of the LCA) and ending 90 days after the filing of the petition and also that firms wishing to hire H-1B workers have first made a good faith effort to hire US worker before sponsoring an H-1B.”

    Comment by ronweber | March 18, 2009

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