GOP congressman introduces visa reform bill to combat ‘domestic outsourcing’

Immigration reform involves more than just securing the U.S.–Mexico border.

In an effort to crack down on companies who are exploiting current visa laws to the detriment of American workers, one congressional Republican has introduced a bill that would make long-overdue changes to two work visa programs that Breitbart reports have been frequently abused by Fortune 500 companies, including those in Silicon Valley.

“Domestic outsourcing”

That Republican is Rep. Jim Banks (IN), the chairman of the Republican Study Committee, who said in a statement that it’s time to put an end to “domestic outsourcing” by Big Tech companies.

“Big Tech is setting aside some of the most lucrative and valuable career opportunities in America and giving them exclusively to foreign guest workers,” Banks said, according to Breitbart. “They’re cutting out Americans to save a few bucks. It’s domestic outsourcing.”

He added: “This shocking disregard for American workers and their role in our nation’s future is unpatriotic. We must fix Big Tech’s incentives, so they begin putting Americans first.”

Entitled the American Tech Workforce Act, Banks’ measure would serve to incentivize U.S.-based companies to hire Americans instead of foreign workers, while at the same time protecting would-be foreign workers from being exploited for cheap labor.

Big changes

According to Breitbart, if passed into law, Banks’ bill would create a “wage floor” for U.S. companies, requiring them to pay workers on H1-B visas a base salary that is equivalent to what the last American worker who held the position was paid or $110,000, whichever is greater. It would also end the current lottery system for such visas and create a marketplace for companies to compete, with visas being awarded to the highest bidder.

The law would also end the Optional Practical Training (OPT) program, which allows foreign nationals who initially arrived to the U.S. on student visas to be hired after graduation for various white-collar jobs and absolves companies of paying payroll tax on those employees’ wages for three years.

In addition, Banks’ legislation would crack down on third-party companies that recruit and sponsor H1-B foreign workers to fill employment spots in the U.S. by limiting the eligibility of those visas to just one year.

“Protecting American workers”

As of Thursday, the bill has already won the backing of at least 11 other House Republicans and has received public support from a pair of prominent immigration-focused organizations, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) and NumbersUSA.

RJ Hauman, director of government relations and communications for FAIR, said in a statement that the bill would correct “some glaring flaws in the H-1B program, which has had a severely detrimental effect on the job opportunities and wages of American workers.”

“Remember, immigration policymaking should not be solely focused on border security, but also protecting American workers from unfair competition,” Hauman added. “Congressman Jim Banks understands this and we commend him for his leadership on the immigration issue.”

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