Reps. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., are working on a plan to dispose of the H-1B visa lottery system, according to a ComputerWorld report.
Legislation has not yet been introduced, but the representatives are reportedly pushing for a system that would use salary offers instead of the current lottery system.
This year, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the agency that handles H1-B requests, received more than 85,000 petitions—equivalent to a full year’s supply—in just five days. It was the fourth year in a row that requests outnumbered supply in less than a week.
In total, 236,000 H-1B visa petitions were submitted this year.
Issa and Lofgren have criticized H-1B wage rates, stressing that the original goal of the program was not to replace American workers with cheap overseas labor. They believe raising the salaries will prevent U.S. companies from using the program that way.
The legislation would reportedly propose a four-tier wage system, which would account for pay differences by region and skill, with the intention to raise wages for H-1B visa holders overall. The bill would also raise the current $60,000 salary threshold and eliminate per-country caps on green cards for advanced degree holders.
The H-1B issue has been the subject of much controversy and several pieces of legislation over the past six months, so it’s unclear which legislation, if any, will move forward. The program could change in the future, which would eventually mean companies that use the program would have to adjust.