North County Republican congressman Darrell Issa yesterday (July 20) announced the introduction of legislation that is intended to close a loophole in the H-1B visa program that allegedly depresses wages and job opportunities of American engineers.
The H-1B program permits companies to bring in foreign tech workers (mainly from India). Critics say that the H-1B workers are underpaid, thus pushing down wages of American employees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields.
Issa, a longtime backer of H-1B, was disgusted last year when Southern California Edison engineers were forced to train the H-1Bs who were brought in to replace them. It was clear that Edison had brought in the H-1Bs to replace Americans with cheaper labor — something that was not supposed to happen in the program.
The bill introduced by Issa — and backed by the entire San Diego House delegation — would raise the H-1B salary threshold of $60,000 to $100,000. Backers believe this would make it harder for companies to bring in workers at a salary that would undercut the pay of Americans in similar jobs.