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H1B and L1 visa reform proposed in US Senate

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A bipartisan group of senators has introduced new legislation in the US Senate targeting an overhaul of the H1B and L1 visa programs. The group of senators argue that reforming the hugely popular visa categories will ‘protect American workers’ and ‘crackdown on foreign outsourcing companies exploiting the visa programs and depriving highly skilled Americans’.


An official statement from the senators said: “The H1B and L1 Visa Reform Act will reduce fraud and abuse, provide protections for American workers and visa holders, and require more transparency in the recruitment of foreign workers.”

Proposed by Senate Majority Whip, Dick Durbin, Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Senator Chuck Grassley, Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, the legislation is co-sponsored by Senators Richard Blumenthal, Tommy Tuberville, Sherrod Brown, Bill Hagerty, and Bernie Sanders.


Prioritize H1B allocations

According to the legislation, the H1B and L1 Visa Reform Act will require United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to prioritize, for the first time ever, the annual allocation of H1B visas.

The reforms would ensure that the brightest and best STEM advanced degree students, educated in the US, would get preference for an H1B visa while also prioritizing other US advanced degree holders, those being paid a high wage, and those with valuable skills.

Meanwhile, the legislation explicitly prohibits replacing American workers with H1B and L1 visa holders, while clarifying that the working conditions of similarly employed US workers may not be adversely affected by the hiring of an H1B worker, including those H1B visa holders that have been placed by another employer at a US worker’s worksite.

Senator Durbin said: “Reforming the H1B and L1 visa programmes is a critical component to fixing the broken US immigration system. For years, outsourcing companies have used legal loopholes to displace qualified American workers, exploit foreign workers, and facilitate the outsourcing of American jobs.”

“Our legislation would fix these broken programmes, protect workers, and put an end to these abuses,” Durbin added.


Complement America’s workforce

Meanwhile, Senator Grassley said: “Congress created the H1B and L1 visa schemes to complement America’s high-skilled workforce, not replace it. Unfortunately, some companies are trying to exploit the programmes by cutting American workers for cheaper labour. We need programmes dedicated to putting American workers first.”

“When skilled foreign workers are needed to meet the demands of our labour market, we must also ensure that visa applicants who honed their skills at American colleges and universities are a priority over the importation of more foreign workers. Our bill takes steps to ensure that the programs work for Americans and skilled foreign workers alike,” Grassley added.

The group of senators stated that the legislation will specifically target outsourcing companies that hire large numbers of H1B and L1 visa workers for temporary training purposes, only to send them back to their home countries to do the same job.

In particular, companies with 50 or more employees – at least half of which are H1B or L1 visa holders – will be prohibited from hiring additional employees on these visas.


Department of Labor

Meanwhile, the US Department of Labor will be given enhanced authority to review, investigate and audit employer compliance with program requirements, as well as penalize fraudulent or abusive conduct, under the legislation.

Senator Tuberville said: “This legislation will crackdown on the manipulation of existing vulnerabilities to ensure employers prioritize the American worker before considering any high-skilled foreign applicants.”

“If we are going to get our economy back up and running, we need to do it correctly and that begins with utilizing the talent we have here at home first and foremost,” Tuberville added.

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced that it has received a sufficient number of petitions to meet the regular cap set by Congress of 65,000, and the 20,000 reserved for H1B visa US advanced degree exemptions – known as the master’s cap – for fiscal year 2022. can help with US employment-based visas

If you would like to apply for a US work visa – including L1 visasE2 visasO1 visas and H1B visas - can help. is a specialist visa services firm with over thirty years of experience dealing with visa applications. We can help with a wide range of visa applications to your country of choice. Contact us for further details. You can also telephone 0344 991 9222.