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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

SENATE BORDER BUDGET BILL PAYS FOR ENFORCEMENT WITH NEW H-1B AND L-1 FEES

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Well this came out of nowhere. Last night the Senate passed an emergency border enforcement bill that provides $600 million for increased security on the southern US border. The $600 million will come from raising fees on staffing companies. The fee will increase by $2250 for each L-1 visa application for companies that employ 50 or more workers if 50% of the workforce is on an H-1B or an L-1. The fee will increase by $2000 for each H-1B application for companies with 50 or more workers with 50% or more in L-1 or H-1B status.That means L-1 fees will now be about $3100 per worker for these firms and the H-1B fees will be about $4200 for regular cases and $5200 for premium processing cases.


Some media reports have stated that the language only applies to foreign-based companies. That is not correct. Also, reports have said that it only applies to companies that have been abusing the program. While I'm sure some of the protectionists lurking around here would say merely using the H-1B program in large numbers is tantamount to criminal activity, there is nothing here protecting companies that pay their employees well, treat them fairly and are complying in all respects with the H-1B rules.


Here is the exact language:


SEC. 402. (a) Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act or any other provision of law, during the period beginning on the date of the enactment of this Act and ending on September 30, 2014, the filing fee and fraud prevention and detection fee required to be submitted with an application for admission as a nonimmigrant under section 101(a)(15)(L) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(L)) shall be increased by $2,250 for applicants that employ 50 or more employees in the United States if more than 50 percent of the applicant's employees are nonimmigrants admitted pursuant to section 101(a)(15)(H)(i)(b) of such Act or section 101(a)(15)(L) of such Act.


(b) Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act or any other provision of law, during the period beginning on the date of the enactment of this Act and ending on September 30, 2014, the filing fee and fraud prevention and detection fee required to be submitted with an application for admission as a nonimmigrant under section 101(a)(15)(H)(i)(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(H)(i)(b)) shall be increased by $2,000 for applicants that employ 50 or more employees in the United States if more than 50 percent of the applicant's employees are such nonimmigrants or nonimmigrants described in section 101(a)(15)(L) of such Act.


According to Politico,


The Senate bill includes $300 million for 1,500 additional Border Patrol agents, Custom and Border Protection officers and Immigration and Customs Enforcement personnel; $196 million for Justice Department programs; $32 million for two more drones; and other money for things like communications equipment and new facilities.


One would hope that paying north of $5000 per worker in H-1B filing fees will quiet some of the critics who argue that the program enables these foreign "job shops" to bring in cheap labor. With the requirement to pay the prevailing wage and this new much higher fee (which cannot be passed to the employee), hiring H-1Bs will be a much more expensive proposition for the larger staffing companies. But somehow I doubt this will quiet the critics because this is not about leveling the playing field. It's about eliminating the competition.


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Comments

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  1. beppe's Avatar
    i wish that sooner or later some relief will come from nowhere.
  2. Another Voice's Avatar
    This looks right out of the Grassley/Durbin playbook, have more incentives out there to discourage companies to hire foreign workers, which in turn will make it more expensive for businesses that depend on these workers which probably is better for companies that will just move these jobs somewhere else....
  3. Sid's Avatar
    IT Consulting companies are going to bear the brunt of the damage. It's funny to see that American politicians do not have the guts to tax it's own citizens to pay for securing the border or for fighting two wars.
  4. Adi's Avatar
    Oh well! More outsourcing to follow. A worker can be now hired in India for a year with the cost of filing h1b.
  5. S's Avatar
    I think their target is companies like Infosys , TCS.
  6. A's Avatar
    It is about money and politics. Someone has to pay for that. As SID said, the American politicians lack the "CAJONES" to increase taxes. If they do, they are going to see rainbows at the elections with the already pissed of citizens. So they chose "SOFT TARGETS", IT consulting companies. The IT consulting company will pass on that charge to the employee by reducing the pay by 2K. So in the end, the H1B and L1 temporary employees are paying for US border patrol, justice department programs, 2 drones to catch illegal immigrants and other misc items.
  7. A's Avatar
    http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hpS6ZKo4wAryQNsBY9i7PxjF3F7g

    A summary of the bill said the funds would be raised with a 2,000-dollar per visa increase in the price paid by specific companies for non-immigrant "H1B" visas for highly skilled workers or "L" visas for intracompany transfers.

    "We're talking about foreign companies that more than half of their employees" are on those visas, said Schumer. "All we're saying is, you're going to have to pay more for those visas."

    "This is not going to affect American manufacturing. This is not going to affect American jobs. What it's going to do is hopefully create some vacancies for Americans at some of these higher skilled jobs that these companies -- foreign companies -- are using the visas," he added.

    What a load of crap!! Sen.Schumer expects everyone to believe this and this dude is next in line to become Senate Majority Leader. I beleive that the american constitution is written by geniuses so that this country can be run by idiots like this guy.
  8. Adi's Avatar
    I don't know why but since I read this article this morning, I feel like throwing up.
  9. George Chell's Avatar
    "Oh well! More outsourcing to follow. A worker can be now hired in India for a year with the cost of filing h1b."

    Something the morons in the Senate dont understand and something antis will never understand until they drive all the jobs out of the country. This morning private sector added only 71,000 jobs...what the report does not tell you is that hiring is weak because the jobs moved abroad!

  10. George Chell's Avatar
    "This is not going to affect American manufacturing. This is not going to affect American jobs. What it's going to do is hopefully create some vacancies for Americans at some of these higher skilled jobs that these companies -- foreign companies -- are using the visas," he added.

    This is going to affect American manufacturing. This is going to affect American jobs. What it is going to do is create fewer vacances for Americans in high skilled areas as jobs move abroad.
  11. My 2 cents's Avatar
    Microsoft & other biggie tech firms would set tech centers in India & other Asian countries rather than go through the H1 or L1 bottleneck. Schumer is leading the CIR effort so the legals are going to suffer if this is how he deals with skilled workers. I hope Harry Reid gets re-elected as I don't trust Schumer, he turning out to be like Lindsey Graham.
  12. Sid's Avatar
    @My 2 cents,

    Microsoft and other big US based tech firms are not going to be directly affected by this. 50% of their employees are not on H1/L1.
  13. George Chell's Avatar
    "Microsoft and other big US based tech firms are not going to be directly affected by this. 50% of their employees are not on H1/L1."

    It is all perception...if they predict among themselves that things are going to get tough, they will start moving operations abroad. In the 1980s, when the Simpson-Mazolli bill was introduced and there was a perception that restrictions on skilled migration would pass...corporations moved jobs to Asia, and as a result, unemployment was stuck between 7 and 8 percent for a considerable period of time, as fewer jobs were created in the US!


  14. Another Voice's Avatar
    Exactly George just when we need jobs here here come the smart Senators with a brilliant idea, don't we love their smarts!!!
  15. HAHAHA's Avatar
    I think they are assuming that H1 and L1 will not go down because of the fee hike. Cause if they think it will go down then someone else has to pay the "$600 million for increased security on the southern US border."
    Its clear that they know IT staffing companies will manage somehow and if not then maybe someone from US will pick up this job. This was they get 2 ducks with one shot.
  16. KR's Avatar
    Truth be told, this is what will most likely happen.

    The Indian outsourcing companies will just increase their revenue from the client and make up for the fee increase as they'll STILL be the cheaper option.

    The Indian bodyshops will play around and figure out a loop hole, i mean 49% is not that different from 50%

    Schumer and Co will then use this as a leverage showing that " this is what we're doing for American citizens" and push their agenda through, the CIR or piece meal, which ever one they finally choose.

    Just a red herring, win win for most, some will minutely get affected.
  17. USC's Avatar
    INS to charge fee for ETA aka ESTA

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-10899968

  18. USC's Avatar
    How the Cans ate the Rats lunch:

    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0810/40765.html

    But advocates said Republicans outsmarted Democrats, calling their bluff by agreeing to pass the bill Thursday night. Schumer had introduced the bill only a few hours earlier, leading advocates to surmise that the Democrats never expected the GOP to accept the measure.

    "They ate the Democrats' lunch," Bhargava said of Republicans, adding that the immigrant advocacy community was in "shock."
  19. George Chell's Avatar
    Nero fiddled while Rome burnt! Congress fiddles as jobs move abroad and fewer jobs are created in this country!
  20. Jack's Avatar
    We are currently at 9.5% unemployment (U-6 16.5%).

    Due to our mass immigration policy, we add about 1.5 million workers to the workforce every year. This de facto workforce growth policy is inflexible with no consideration of unemployment, even with job losses BY FAR the greatest since the Great Depression.

    Over the next five years we are going to need 7.5 million jobs just to provide for that workforce growth, or about 125,000 a month. How much is 125,000 per month?

    Over the best 10 year period of job creation in history (1991-2000) we averaged about 150,000 a month. Since 1999, we've only averaged 50,000.

    Based on our immigration policy which continuously grows the number of people who need a job, we have to increase jobs substantially just to keep the unemployment rate from rising further.

    Based on that ever increasing denominator, just to get to 5% unemployment in five years we would have to create 14 million jobs--250,000 jobs per month. Unfortunately, our autopilot immigration policy makes the unemployment hole we have to dig out of that much bigger.

    During periods of low unemployment, the high immigration advocates claim the job market demands higher immigration. Now when we're bleeding, their ideological message doesn't change one iota--they're perma-high immigration which means perma-population growth which means perma-workforce growth--even when there are not nearly enough jobs to go around. The ratio of unemployed workers to job openings is still *extremely* high which means if you are currently out of work, it could be a while. Our immigration policy makes it that much tougher to get that ratio down.

    Simply put, it is not in the interests of the U.S. for foreigners to have equal access to a job here when there is no other job available for that displaced American. We as a society have to deal with the wide variety of negative consequences caused by unemployment and the impact has proven to be lasting. Thus, even if you feel no loyalty to an American vs. a foreigner, it's still in your interest that your fellow citizen not be unemployed.
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