Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa has slammed President Obama’s plans to increase the efficiency of the current H-1B visa system in the United States by taking executive action on the issue. Grassley, who could become the Senate Judiciary Committee’s chairman if the Republican party seizes control of the Senate following November’s mid-term elections, wants the president to concentrate on protecting American workers and believes that companies need to attest that the foreign workers they hire are not replacing or displacing US workers. Firms that make use of H-1B US visas do not currently have to offer a job to an American worker first.
Grassley released his comments in a letter on Thursday ‒ the same day that Obama revealed his plans.
“Many high-tech companies have long argued that they need more skilled workers from abroad, when in reality many of these companies have laid off mass numbers of individuals,” Grassley points out. “All employers, not just some, should be required to offer the job to a US worker who is equally or better qualified. Acting unilaterally for some businesses without providing protections for US workers would be detrimental to the future of our workforce.” The president cannot raise the cap on H-1B visas; however, he may be able to change the green card system to reduce the length of time required for a green card to become available to someone who already has an H-1B visa. This idea has received support from IEEE-USA’s director of government relations, Russ Harrison.