H-1B, L-1 Reform Legislation Introduced
Sens. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) introduced the “H-1B and L-1 Visa Reform Act” on April 23, 2009. The Durbin-Grassley bill would:
- Require all employers who want to hire an H-1B worker to first make a good-faith attempt to recruit a qualified U.S. worker. Employers would be prohibited from using H-1B visa holders to displace qualified U.S. workers.
- Prohibit “H-1B only” ads and prohibit employers from hiring additional H-1B and L-1 workers if more than 50 percent of their employees are H-1B and L-1 visa holders.
- Permit the Department of Labor (DOL) to initiate investigations without a complaint and without the Labor Secretary’s personal authorization;
- Authorize the DOL to review H-1B applications for fraud;
- Allow the DOL to conduct random audits of any company that uses the H-1B program;
- Require the DOL to conduct annual audits of companies who employ large numbers of H-1B workers.
The Durbin-Grassley bill also would establish a process to investigate, audit, and penalize L-1 visa violations. The two senators introduced a similar bill in March 2007, which was folded into a comprehensive immigration reform bill that failed.
Meanwhile, President Obama reportedly plans to speak publicly about immigration issues in May, and to convene working groups over the summer to discuss possible legislation.