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H1-B Misuse - US Legislature to Amend Immigration Laws

June 2016, 13
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A number of American employees lost their jobs to foreign works on H-1B and other work visas. US legislature has planned to revise visa laws to allow former employees to dispute their layoffs. 

According to The New York Times, corporations with higher volume of immigrant workers defended their labor practices, whereas the Americans who lost their jobs were snubbed with severance agreements that contained a non-disparagement clause.

Former Abbott Laboratories employee Marco Pena was one of the 150 employees who were laid off in April.

Pena decided not to sign the severance agreement which cost him at least $10,000. Pena said, “I just didn't feel right about signing. The clauses were pretty blanket. I felt like they were eroding my rights.”

The US Congress members questioned these non-disparagement agreements that prevented ex-employees from disputing their position as well as the misuse of temporary visas. This led to amending visa laws to allow former employees to challenge their layoffs.

"I have heard from workers who are fearful of retaliation. They are told they can say whatever they want, except they can’t say anything negative about being fired," Senator Richard Blumenthal said, who is a Democrat of Connecticut.

Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois commented that the Abbotts’ non-disparagement clause was "overly broad."

Federal rules state that H-1Bs are for foreigners with “a body of specialized knowledge” that are not available immediately and is supposed to be granted only when it will not “adversely affect the working conditions” of Americans. According to labor force expert, Professor Hal Salzman of Rutgers University, American workers were replaced by foreigners on H-1B and other work visas in tens of thousands by finding loopholes in the system.

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