Protect and Grow American Jobs Act (H.R. 170) aims to reform H-1B Dependency Regulations and the Exemptions
Regarding Recruitment Attestations
On November 15, 2017, the House Judiciary Committee approved bi-partisan
legislation that aims to make it more difficult for H-1B dependent employers
to petition for highly-skilled workers through the H-1B visa program.
More specifically, the
Protect and Grow American Jobs Act (H.R. 170) seeks to protect American workers by altering the recruitment exemptions
for H-1B dependent companies.
Currently, H-1B dependent employers must make an effort to recruit American
workers before petitioning for an H-1B worker, unless they meet certain
exceptions, such as:
- The Beneficiary will be paid an annual salary of at least $60,000; or
- The Beneficiary has obtained a Master’s degree in a field required
by the Specialty Occupation.
As per current H-1B dependency regulations, if an H-1B dependent employer
does not meet either of the above-listed criteria, they must make attestations
regarding their recruitment efforts for American workers and must refrain
from laying-off an American worker in the immediate 90 days following
the filing of an H-1B petition.
Protect and Grow American Jobs Act, if made law, will reform H-1B dependency regulations by raising the $60,000
wage requirement to $90,000 and by changing the 90-day “no lay-off”
requirement to an indefinite period, wherein which an H-1B dependent employer
may not lay-off any equivalent American worker as long as the H-1B dependent
company is employing similar H-1B workers. The
Protect and Grow American Jobs Act may also eliminate the Master’s degree recruitment exemption that
is currently in place, leaving only one exemption criterion.
Furthermore, if made law, the act will also “strengthen the Department
of Labor’s enforcement arsenal to ensure that H-1B dependent employers
abide by the rules.”
It is important to note that the bill, if passed, will only impact H-1B
dependent employers. Companies are currently considered H-1B dependent
if they have:
- 25 or fewer full-time equivalent employees, of which at least 8 are H-1B
- 26 – 50 full-time equivalent employees, of which at least 13 are
H-1B non-immigrant workers; or
- 51 or more full-time equivalent employees, of which 15% or more are H-1B
Over the last few months, the Trump Administration has promised to limit
the use of the H-1B visa program, as well as look into potential abuse
of the program by H-1B dependent companies. The
Protect and Grow American Jobs Act seems to be one of the first significant attempts to reform the H-1B visa
program though legislation.
In order to become law, the bill will need to be passed in the House of
Representatives, as well as in Senate Committee and on the Senate floor.
Please feel free to contact USILAW with any questions or issues that you
may have. You may reach us via telephone at +1 (202) 618 4540 or via email at