Washington: A bill seeking to prevent US companies from outsourcing jobs overseas by "abusing" H1-B programme has been re-introduced in the House of
Representatives and may hit Indian IT firms and professionals.
Democratic Congressman Derek Kilmer and his Republican colleague Doug Collins introduced the bill aimed at stopping employers that are awarded temporary visas through the H-1B programme, from using them to train workers in the US and then move those jobs to another country.
"The Keeping American Jobs Act protects American workers by preventing bad actors from abusing the system in order to offshore jobs," said Collins in a statement.
The move comes days after the Public Broadcasting Service aired a documentary on H-1B visa programme that allows skilled workers from countries like India to fill high-tech jobs in the US.
"Protecting American jobs is crucial in order for our economy to continue to gain strength and momentum," said Collins.
"Companies have the opportunity to bring workers from overseas on H-1B visas in the event that qualified Americans aren’t available, but we can’t allow the law to be exploited to displace American workers and send their jobs abroad," he said.
"Our policies should promote jobs in America," said Kilmer. "They shouldn't be about sending jobs done by hard working Americans overseas. That's why I'm continuing my push with Representative Collins to keep H-1B visas from ever being used to send any job to another country," he said.
Noting that H-1B visas allow American businesses to hire foreign professionals if skilled American workers are unavailable to fill job openings, a Congressional statement said the employees must have expertise in fields like science and technology and generally have college degrees.
"This week, 60 Minutes reported that unscrupulous employers have utilised the programme to bring foreign workers in and displace American jobs. This follows reports last year that American workers were forced to train H1B visa holders to do their job so that the jobs could be permanently outsourced to foreign workers," the statement said.
During his presidential campaign, President Donald Trump had promised to increase oversight of H-1B and L-1 visa programmes that are used widely by Indian tech companies.
The H1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows American firms to employ foreign workers in occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. The technology companies depend on it to hire tens of thousands of employees each year.