Proposed Bills in House and Senate to Change H-1B and L Visa Programs

Representative Nancy Johnson (D-CT) and Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) recently introduced similar bills that would alter both the L visa and H-1B visa programs. Bills H.R.2849 and S.1452 would make the following changes to these visa programs:

The two proposed bills would require employers to file an attestation with the Department of Labor (DOL) that declares the following:

· The L-1 visa holder will not perform any worksite duties of another employer,
· The employer will offer wages that are greater than or equal to the actual or prevailing wage, and
· The employer will not have displaced U.S. workers for 180 days prior to or after the filing of an L-1 petition.
The bills also provide for an annual review of all blanket petition procedures followed by the Department of Human Services and DOL. In addition, the bills propose to increase the work experience requirement from one year with the foreign employer to two years.
Additional changes the bills will implement include the following:

· L-1A visa durations will be limited to five years.
· L-1B visa durations will be limited to three years.
· L-1B petition employers petitioning for L-1B petitions must file an application that states the employer has attempted in good faith to recruit U.S. workers for the proposed position.
· The DOL will require a fee to be paid by employers petitioning for L-1 visas.

In regards to the H-1B visa program, the bills propose to remove the definition of H-1B dependent employers, and to make H-1B dependant provisions applicable to all H-1B applicants. They will also add dependent provisions to the DOL attestation requirements. These provisions include the following:

· The employer did not displace a U.S. worker 90 days prior to or after filing the visa petition.
· The employer will not place the H-1B employee at a third-party worksite, except in cases where there has not been displacement 180 days prior to or after the placement of the H-1B visa holder at that third-party location.

The provision also calls for making the $1,000 fee for the H-1B visa permanent.

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