Senate bill would restrict H-1B and L-1 visas

11 Nov 15

UNITED STATES

A Senate bill introduced Tuesday by Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Dick Durbin, D-Ill., would restrict employers’ use of H-1B and L-1 visas.

The “H-1B and L-1B Visa Reform Act,” S. 2266, would impose a host of new duties and limitations on employers, including a requirement that every employer attest that it will not replace a U.S. worker with an H-1B or L-1 worker at any time and placing a strict 50 percent limit on the combined H-1B and L-1 workforce composition of employers with 50 or more workers.

Employers would be subject to stricter job advertising rules and would have to meet higher wage criteria for H-1B visas, and the duration of H-1B visas would be reduced from six years to three years unless the holder has an approved immigrant petition. L-1B visas would be subject to a more restrictive statutory definition of “specialized knowledge.”

The bill also calls for increased oversight, investigations and monetary penalties by the Department of Labor and the Department of Homeland Security and mandatory information sharing between U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and the Labor Department. DHS and the State Department would be required to submit annual reports, including lists and details of employers who petitioned for H and L visas.

A detailed table of the bill’s provisions may be viewed here.

The bill is co-sponsored by Senators Bill Nelson, D–Fla., Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Sherrod Brown, D–Ohio.

BAL Analysis: The legislation is considerably more restrictive than any previous legislation introduced by Senators Grassley and Durbin. Every company that hires H-1B or L-1 workers would face new restrictions, obligations and liabilities. BAL is working with clients and through trade associations to evaluate the legislation and develop appropriate strategies. Please reach out to the BAL attorney you normally work with if you have questions regarding the legislation and how it would affect your business.

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