A bill that would increase obligations on companies that rely heavily on H-1B workers has passed the House Judiciary Committee. The Protect and Grow American Jobs Act (H.R. 170) primarily affects “H-1B dependent” companies, defined in the bill as those that employ H-1B workers in more than 20 percent of their workforce. Those companies would be subject to higher wage requirements and substantial new obligations related to the protection of U.S. workers.
Under H.R. 170, every H-1B dependent employer would be required to:
- Pay the greatest of the actual company wage, prevailing wage, or mean wage in the area of employment to H-1B employees who are placed at a third-party worksite.
- Attest that they will not displace a U.S. worker during the entire employment period of the H-1B worker, and will not place an H-1B worker at or near a third-party worksite unless the third-party company provides written assurance that it will not displace a U.S. worker.
- Recruit U.S. workers and offer the job to any qualified U.S. worker, unless the H-1B worker is paid the lesser of $90,000 or the mean wage in the occupation in the area of employment.
- Be subject to random audits by the Department of Labor (DOL will also be required to audit 5 percent of H-1B dependent employers every year).
- Be deemed in violation of the Labor Condition Application if it places an H-1B worker at a client site and the client displaces a U.S. worker.
- Pay a $495 fee with each filing.
Although nondependent H-1B employers would not face new wage restrictions or obligations, they may be subject to new obligations if they allow H-1B dependent vendors or other companies to place H-1B workers at or near their premises. The obligations would include the requirement to provide information to the Department of Labor in an investigation and to provide written assurance that the company did not, and will not, displace a U.S. worker during the period of placement.
BAL Analysis: The bill received the support of Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., signifying bipartisan support to impose restrictions on H-1B dependent companies. However, the complex political dynamics in both the Senate and House make it exceedingly difficult to predict whether any high-skilled legislation will be enacted in the next six months.
BAL’s analysis of the bill’s provisions compared to current law is available here.