Long Overdue H-1B Rule Changes “Just What American Workers Need,” Says FAIR
(October 6, 2020, Washington, D.C.) — Rule changes to the massively abused H-1B guest worker program issued by the Departments of Labor and Homeland Security have been long overdue, and are critical to the welfare of American workers amidst the current unemployment crisis in the United States, says the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).
“The changes that go into effect immediately will ensure that U.S. companies will use H-1B workers to augment our domestic labor force, not replace it, as had been the case for far too long. FAIR, and millions of American workers who are in crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic, applaud the changes being implemented by Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia and Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf,” stated Dan Stein, president of FAIR.
Among the pro-American worker reforms that will go into effect as a result of these rule changes:
- A redefinition of “specialty occupation” that will ensure that H-1B workers who are admitted possess unique skills and qualifications that are not readily replicated by American workers.
- Dramatically curtail the “body shop” business model under which foreign labor contractors snap up tens of thousands of H-1B visas and then subcontract those workers to American employers. Under the new rules U.S. employers will have to petition for workers directly and demonstrate that there is an actual job that requires a uniquely qualified foreign worker.
- Enhancing scrutiny of companies employing H-1B workers to ensure that guest workers are filling the roles for which they were petitioned. In addition, employers found to be abusing the program could be fined or barred from participation.
- Implement needed increases to the “prevailing wage” levels, making it more difficult for companies to undercut American workers.
“FAIR has been pointing out the abuses in the H-1B program for decades, and FAIR’s public interest legal advocacy arm, the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI), has filed numerous lawsuits on behalf of American workers who have been harmed by the flagrant abuse of the program. Just this week, FAIR issued a detailed report laying out needed reforms to guest worker programs and the immigration system as a whole. In fact, the Immigration Reform Blueprint for the American Worker explicitly called for the policy changes being promulgated today,” Stein noted.
“While the current unemployment crisis triggered these regulatory reforms to the H-1B program, we expect that these changes will be long-lasting. Once these protections for American workers are firmly in place, it will be very difficult for any future administration to reinstate the ability of employers to deny jobs and undermine the wages of U.S. workers.
“There is still much to be done in terms of reforming U.S. immigration policies to better protect the interests of American workers. The rules announced today are an important step in the right direction,” concluded Stein.
Contact: Matthew Tragesser, 202-328-7004 or firstname.lastname@example.org