Representative Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) has introduced two pieces of legislation to watch.
The Midnight Rules Relief Act, H.R. 21, would allow Congress to overturn any regulations en masse that were finalized or will be finalized during the lame duck session. This could include the long-awaited rule regarding Retention of EB-1, EB-2 and EB-3 Immigrant Workers and Program Improvements Affecting Highly-Skilled H-1B Nonimmigrant Workers, set to become effective on January 17. The rule would establish job portability and flexibility for certain nonimmigrants, including those with pending green card processes. H.R. 21 was passed by the House.
The Protect and Grow American Jobs Act, H.R. 170, would change eligibility requirements for exemption from the Labor Condition Applications (LCA) requirements for H-1B dependent employers. Employers with more than 50 full-time workers are H-1B dependent if at least 15 percent of their workforce is in H-1B status. H-1B dependence calculations for smaller employers are set forth at 20 CFR 655.736. When H-1B dependent employers file H-1B petitions, they must make additional LCA attestations regarding displacement of U.S. workers and good faith efforts to recruit and hire U.S. workers. But there are exemptions from those attestations if the employee will make at least $60,000 annually or if the employee possesses a Master’s degree in the relevant field. H.R. 170 would eliminate the Master’s degree exemption and raise the minimum annual salary for exemption to $100,000. Representative Issa’s website states that the bill “will help crack down on abuse and ensure these spots remain available for the best and brightest talent from around the world.”
We will continue to monitor the path of these bills.