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H-1B Visas: U.S. Lawmaker Re-Introduces Bill to Tighten Rules

A prominent Republican lawmaker is taking another shot at tightening U.S. rules for high-skilled worker visas ahead of Donald Trump’s inauguration as president later this month.

Rep. Darrell Issa, one of the highest-profile Republicans in Congress and a supporter of Mr. Trump, said Wednesday in a statement on his website that he is reintroducing a bill designed to “stop the outsourcing of American jobs” and ensure laws are not “abused to allow companies to outsource and hire cheap foreign labor from abroad.”

The proposed legislation would increase required salaries for positions granted under the H-1B scheme that replace American workers from $60,000 to $100,000 per year. Mr. Issa said.

It would also do away with an exemption for candidates who hold master’s degrees, according to Mr. Issa, who represents a district in Southern California. Raising the required salaries “would help cut down on abuse by removing the profit incentive,” said Mr. Issa’s statement.

The bill, which was first introduced in July, is co-sponsored by Democratic Rep. Scott Peters, also from California.

Tens of thousands of mostly Indian citizens enter the U.S. every year on H-1B visas, and analysts have said Mr. Trump may target the program for tougher vetting.

That could be a blow not only for those in India who want to work in the U.S., but also for India’s outsourcing firms, which employ millions and comprise roughly 20% of the country’s exports of goods and services.

“Adverse legislation with respect to U.S. H-1B visas under Mr. Trump’s administration is a key risk to the sector,” Sagar Rastogi, an analyst at Indian brokerage Ambit Capital, said Thursday in a research note.

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(via WSJ)