WASHINGTON – The Senate has accepted an amendment sponsored by Senator Chuck Grassley that would ensure companies taking TARP money comply with strict hiring standards in order not to displace qualified American workers. The amendment that passed the Senate modified an amendment that Grassley filed with Senator Bernie Sanders.
The modified amendment requires that a company receiving TARP funds and applying for workers under the H-1B process must operate as an “H-1B dependent company.” This means they will still be able to hire H-1B visa holders, but must comply with the H-1B dependent employer rules which include attesting to actively recruiting American workers; not displacing American workers with H-1B visa holders; and not replacing laid off American workers with foreign workers.
“Hiring American workers for limited available jobs should be a top priority for businesses taking taxpayer money through the TARP bailout program. With the unemployment rate at 7.6 percent, there is no need for companies to hire foreign guest workers through the H1-B program when there are plenty of qualified Americans looking for jobs,” Grassley said. “Our common-sense amendment simply ensures that recipients of American taxpayer money make American workers their first priority as they look to hire new employees.”
Grassley supports the H-1B program, but has said that reforms are urgently needed and the program should be used in the way it was intended – as a temporary measure to supplement a company’s need for hi-tech or specialized workers when none are available in the U.S.
Grassley has been a leader in the effort to improve the H-1B visa program. In the 110th Congress, he introduced a comprehensive H-1B and L visa reform bill with Senator Dick Durbin that would
give priority to American workers and crack down on unscrupulous employers who deprive qualified Americans of high-skill jobs.
He has also asked questions of both American and foreign based companies about their use of the H-1B visa program.