The 50/50 Clause in the Anti L1 Visa & H1B Visa Bill

We have written extensively about the new H1B Visa and L1 Visa Bill introduced to the US Congress a couple of months back as Senator Durbin and Senator Grassley’s solution to US citizens losing their jobs in the current economy.

Currently this bill has been hiraliously titled S. 887; A bill to amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to reform and reduce fraud and abuse in certain visa programs for aliens working temporarily. I say hilarious given it does no such thing but really just find a scapegoat other than Congress themselves for the problem the economy is in. This bill essentially is trying to kill or mame the H1B visa and L1 visa programs.

Of course we explained fully with actual facts why the US Congress Should Not Pass This Anti-Immigration Bill so won’t re-hash all of that information here. Suffice to say that with over 50% of all Silicon Valley company founders being Immigrants being one of the major arguments against this bill, shows how stupid, opportunistic and borderline xenophobic the Senators are given they are the ones who are really responsible for this mess and not poor immigrants who create a lot of jobs and pay a lot of taxes. All of which support unemployed and unhealthy Americans but not themselves as they have no access to Social Security or Medicare despite paying those taxes and additionally the generous salaries and benefits members of Congress enjoy.

However we thought we would outline briefly one of the most controversial aspects of the law and show how hypocritical members of the US Congress really are and how they only really care about themselves, their own enrichment and future.

The 50/50 clause prohibits companies from obtaining any additional work visas if they have more than 50 U.S. employees and more than 50 percent of their entire U.S. workforce is made up of H-1B or L-1 visa holders.

On the face of it this may seem like OK, this company is based in the US, shouldn’t they have a majority of US workers on staff. OK but if you follow that argument then shouldn’t every company be truly representative of the US population and have 14% hispanic people, 12% african-american people, 51% women, etc.

The US free market enterprise system and laws allow for companies to legally hire the best people to help the company succeed. Now if that is not convincing to you then all those Silicon Valley companies like Google, Yahoo, Intel, eBay, etc. which are all Global powerhouses started by Immigrants to the US, should they have been allowed to start their companies or should they have to pass some sort of quota test of Immigrants starting companies first?

Finally if Senators in Congress are so adament about countries protecting their local population and culture, etc. why for example when Australia and the US were negotiating their Free Trade Agreement (AUSFTA) back in 2004-5 when the issue of media ownership and local content on TV come up did the US Congress demand Australia drop all regulations.

Australian television networks were regulated to have at least 50% (magic number!!) of locally produced content as part of their programming which the US Congress heavily lobbied and funded via campaign contributions by the US media and entertainment companies demanded be removed as a requirement. Thus allowing more US Content on Australian TV and many Australians working locally in the industry out of work.

The truth is as we have said before Senator Durbin and Senator Grassley ultimately are trying to granstand with this bill and targeting Immigrants who cannot vote and have minimal rights as their target. Let’s hope this bill gets defeated along with the ideology of blame the Immigrant given the United States was built and has prospered from Day 1 to today because of Immigrants.


11 thoughts on “The 50/50 Clause in the Anti L1 Visa & H1B Visa Bill

  1. you wrote: “…the US Congress heavily lobbied and funded…”
    Do you have any proof of this, such as a link or something. I was unaware that the U.S. congress lobbied abroad in this manner.

    One more thing, you wrote : “…if you follow that argument then shouldn’t every company be truly representative of the US population…”.

    Is the U.S. population made up of 50% H-1Bs?

    What do you have against fraud and abuse prevention?

  2. Hi Shirley,

    That’s the point any rule a regulation talking about proportions is meaningless unless you take it to the fullest extent with all groups. So a company could hire 50% H1B visas or 80% US citizens depending on whatever is best not by some artificial mandate.

    Being in the US you would hear less of via the US media about issues like how the US government lobbies to protect its own but wants open access to foreign markets. Read or just type in Google and you will see numerous articles about this and many other issues relating to Agriculture a lot, Healthcare, etc.

    In the end it boils down to the US wanting to be protectionist at home with issues but require other countries to have open access to the US.

    I have nothing against fraud and abuse prevention but it has to go both ways. H1B visa holders are abused in the workplace all the time as are other legal immigrants on all visa classes by threats, slave like conditions, withheld pay, etc. All these immigrants pay all taxes yet have no access to services by law.

    The regulations for fraud and abuse already exist in current US Immigration and H1B visa regulations, they just have not be enforced by Congress just like they did not enfore SEC standards for companies which led to the economic collapse.

    I thank you for your comments and encourage you to talk to immigrants or read their stories on the numeorus forums, blogs, etc. and hear what the reality is for a Immigrant worker in the US and how they are being blamed and penalized for something that was not at all their fault.


  3. Racist hiring practices is illegal in the United States. These tech companies should be thanking congress for not prosecuting them for civil rights violations.

  4. Hi Joe,
    I agree racist hiring practices are illegal as is racist discrimination of employees because they happen to be foreign born. This legislation doesn’t address all the inbalances in the system but just tries to further marginalize foreigners.

  5. I have never seen an IT department that discriminated against foreign born workers, there is no imbalance. The legislation addresses businesses such as Wipro that only hire Indian males. I heard there is a federal investigation on civil rights issues and racist hiring practices at these companies; I would be weary if I were them. Being found to run a racist organization is a very serious offense in the United States.

  6. Hi Joe,
    With all due respect just because you haven’t seen it doesn’t mean it isn’t widespread. I mean I haven’t seen a murder committed or toxic waste dumping but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist or that it is common. If you read more widely and talk to foreigners and immigration lawyers, and immigrant support groups as well as see cases filed with the Department of Labor then you might get more of an idea what actually goes on.
    Many immigrants get threatened with cancellation of their visa unless they work long overtime hours, except reduction in pay and benefits, work on weekends, etc. which an employers knows he cannot force on a local worker as he has no leverage. Then when these cases of abuse are taken to the Department of Labor they are not addressed.
    Additionally if the new legislation wants to be truly fair why do foreigners have to pay Medicare and Social Security taxes when they have no access to either program themselves.
    The legislation doesn’t address anything as discriminatory hiring policies and lying on Visa Application forms are already against the law. All it does it provide a smoke screen for politicians who along with the leaders of corporate America truly responsible for the economic mess the US and the world finds itself in.

  7. The 50/50 provision is designed to stop illegal, discriminatory, hiring practices; it does not address the issue of visa holders being treated unfairly in the work place. What you are now talking about is a completely different issue. From what I’ve read and heard from friends of mine here working on a visa, the major offenders as far as workers rights for visa employees are the same firms the 50/50 provision is directed at. I would agree with you if you had written a blog stating that the 50/50 provision should have been along side a provision within the bill to protect visa workers. I believe a policy of allowing a visa holder to switch jobs at will and not be at the mercy of a single employer would be beneficial.

  8. Oh, and as far as Medicare and Social Security taxes, hopefully you knew when you decided to work in the United States within the visa program that you would not be eligible to benefit from social programs. If you were not aware, you probably should have done more research before working in the US on a visa. I wouldn’t want to pay into those programs either if I was you, but from what I can tell you probably believe the benefits of working here outweigh these negatives.

  9. Hi Joe,
    Again you are taking your own experiences and your own circle of people and assuming that applies to all. If you believe so blindly the intention of the legislation is to stop hiring pracitices being unfair, then you probably also believe the sole aim of the Patriot Act is to make the US safe. I encourage to not only read the act itself but also the Senators comments around certain points and you can see what their bias is and also the sheer hypocrisy of their argument.
    The employers that discriminate against foreigners are widespread and cover the gamut of all industries and employers. You only have to look at the public record of filed cases with the Department of Labor.
    Foreigners are aware they have no access to social programs as well but the fact they have to contribute to it fully is also unfair to them. The J-1 visa for example does not require payment of social security or medicare so the precedent is there.
    You assume it is me complaining about my own situation, I am writing on behalf of the people that email me every day about the troubles they face because of an immigration system that discriminates against them and solely benefits lawyers. The illegal immigration problem in the US in the main exists because the legal immigration system is so complex, backwards, unfair and costly that so many decide it is easier to circumnavigate it. If the US Government devoted the money they have set aside for things like border fences to just simplifying the system, I know the illegal problem here would decrease.
    The truth is there are many great places to live and work in the world and all have their benefits and negatives and the US is not necessarily better or worse than any of the others it is just a preference for people based on their life situation.
    The US lives off the hard work of its immigrants and claims their successes as their own as you only have to look at Silicon Valley for this but continues to treat foreigners as second class people. That is the real discrimination which should be addressed. As I said there it is already illegal to hire using discrimanatory hiring practices and this legislation is bordering on racist in its intention by targeting a specific group of people.

  10. Your latest post is fairly disappointing; as the opening almost reads as if you are now resorting to insults. The bizarre reference to the patriot act is nothing more than an attempt to deflect attention away from the racist and illegal hiring practices you support so vehemently. Hopefully, the legislation in question will pass as it will be a great victory for workers rights. I also find it fairly strange that you now claim a majority of computer advances were done by people whom are not native to the United States and we are all merely leeching off of their noble efforts. I, and the history of modern computer science, certainly disagree with your suggestion. If the United States is taking advantage of visa workers I certainly don’t see why they would be so enthusiastic about the prospect of working here. As you said, there are plenty of other nations to work.

  11. Hi Joe,
    No it is your understanding of the Act that is fairly dissappointing as you are just blindly believing what you hear in the media and are just assuming this is what the interntion and the underlying reason of the Act it. I don’t support racist hiring policies at all but any Act designed to focus on one group of people over another is in itself racist.
    Like I said the laws already exist in the US as it applies to hiring based on race so this act just focus on one group of people. If the Act passes it will not be for workers rights but Politicians trying to deflect blame from themselves because if they were so passionate about this cause why wasn’t it raised years ago or even a couple of years ago. Of course the reason being is that they needed a scapegoat.
    I didn’t say that Immigrants made all advances but a Harvard Study by Vivek Wadhwa showed 52% of all Silicon Valley Start Ups were begun by Immigrants and that includes major brands like Google, Yahoo, eBay, Paypal among others which employ hundred of thousands directly and who knows how many indirectly and bring billions to the US Economy. These aren’t suggestions, these are facts. Look the study up as it goes even further as well.
    And as he goes on to say with the system as it is now being so inherently Anti-Immigration and further efforts like this to make it moreso, it is the US as whole that willl lose out as the companies will begin to originate in other parts of the world.
    The US does not take advantage of visa workers, it is certain employers that infringe of immigrant rights and an inherently flawed Immigration system skewed more to greedy lawyers than anybody else. None of these things are addressed which shows again that Senators Durbin, Grassley and co. are more concerned about grandstanding and finding scapegoats than true Immigration reform.
    I am pretty hopeful that this legislation will not pass in its current form as many including the President have expressed opposition and further pause towards it.

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