A bi-partisan House panel has approved the “Protect and Grow American Jobs Act,” a bill that would change eligibility requirements for exemption from the standard Labor Condition Application (LCA) requirement for H-1B-dependent employers. This is the first step in making it to the floor of Congress for a vote.

Employers who depend on the H-1B visa, many of whom are outsourcing companies that rely heavily on foreign national workers, must make additional attestations in the LCA regarding displacement of U.S. workers and good faith efforts to recruit and hire U.S. workers before obtaining additional H-1B workers. There has been bi-partisan support for legislation that would curb alleged outsourcing abuses and this bill is part of that effort.

H-1B employers currently are exempt from the additional attestations if the individuals they wish to hire in H-1B status have Master’s degrees in a relevant field or earn a minimum annual salary of at least $60,000. The Act, first introduced by Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) in January, originally would have eliminated the Master’s degree exemption and pushed the minimum salary requirement to $100,000. The amended version, which was approved by the panel, would adopt “a new formula that is equal to the lesser of $135,000 or the mean wage for applicants’ occupation in their area (but subject to a floor of no less than $90,000). The bill would also require the wage levels in this formula to be indexed for inflation over time.” The bill would require more accountability. H-1B-dependent employers must do more than make attestations; they would have to provide documentation regarding their recruitment procedures.

This bill has had a mixed reception. Some protest that it would simply push jobs overseas. Others see it as a good way to help to curb abuses.

We will continue to follow the progress of this legislation.

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Photo of Forrest G. Read IV Forrest G. Read IV

Forrest Read is a Principal in the Raleigh, North Carolina, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He has extensive experience in both business immigration law and employment law and has particular focus in legal issues in graduate medical education (GME).

Mr. Read’s immigration practice…

Forrest Read is a Principal in the Raleigh, North Carolina, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He has extensive experience in both business immigration law and employment law and has particular focus in legal issues in graduate medical education (GME).

Mr. Read’s immigration practice focuses on assisting employers in obtaining employment-based nonimmigrant visas (e.g., H-1B, L, O, TN) for foreign national employees and work-related immigrant (green card) visas, including PERM Labor Certifications, and advising employers on compliance with U.S. immigration laws and regulations. He has broad experience in advising large, mid-size and small employers on their various immigration needs and developing strategies to help them navigate through complex immigration issues. He also has particular experience in counseling employers in the health care industry and addressing immigration-related issues that arise for their broad range of health care professional employees (including advising on and obtaining employment authorization for medical residents and fellows and obtaining J-1 visa waivers for foreign national physicians completing their medical training in the United States). His immigration practice also includes defending employers in connection with Department of Labor H-1B and H-2B investigations.

Mr. Read’s employment law experience includes representing management, particularly academic medical centers in the GME context, in a wide array of workplace disputes and litigation before federal and state courts and administrative agencies, including matters related to discrimination, retaliation, harassment, disability, family and medical leave, various wage and hour issues, contracts, and intentional torts. He advises academic medical centers on the interplay between applicable academic law and employment law and the ramifications of what are divergent legal requirements and standards. Mr. Read also provides counsel with respect to the legal impact of competency standards for residents and trainees in GME, including situations involving discipline, remediation, and dismissal. He provides advice and guidance in the peer review process, including provision of verification and assessment of training in response to third party inquiries.

As a member of the Firm’s Corporate Diversity Counseling group, Mr. Read also has experience in providing assessments and making recommendations to corporate and institutional clients with respect to diversity and inclusion policies and initiatives, conducting related internal investigations, and shaping, developing and enforcing effective policies and initiatives to ensure consistency with client values and in furtherance of business goals and objectives.