Congressman Darrell Issa of California reintroduced H-1B legislation proposing to reform the requirements related to attestation exemptions for H-1B dependent and willful violator employers. Specifically, the legislation aims to increase salary requirements and eliminate master’s degree exemptions, which currently allow H-1B dependent and willful violator employers to avoid Department of Labor attestation requirements.
Currently, H-1B dependent and willful violator employers are exempt from Department of Labor attestation requirements if the beneficiary has a master’s degree or higher, or will earn a base salary of at least $60,000. H-1B-dependent and willful violator employers which employ only exempt H-1B workers are relieved from the additional obligations with which they would otherwise be required to comply, such as non-displacement, recruitment, and hiring of US workers.
In the proposed legislation, Congress seeks to make it more difficult for H-1B dependent and willful violator employers to qualify for this exemption. The legislation proposes to raise the base salary amount to $100,000, an increase of $40,000 from the current exemption amount. Additionally, the legislation proposes to eliminate the master’s degree exemption, meaning that H-1B dependent and willful violator employers could only qualify for the exemption by paying the beneficiary a base salary of at least $100,000.
The proposed legislation was reintroduced just days before Donald Trump was inaugurated as the next president of the United States. During his campaign, Trump stated that he would seek to reform the H-1B category, in part to make it more difficult for U.S. employers to employ foreign nationals over qualified U.S. workers. Although the proposed legislation has not been passed by either branch of Congress, the transition to a Trump administration may result in the passing of this proposed legislation sooner rather than later.
For further details regarding the proposed reform to the H-1B category, or any other immigration matters, please contact a member of our team.