Stiumus plan restricts H-1B hires

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There is always controversy surrounding the H-1B visa program that allows U.S. companies to employ foreign nationals when American workers with equivalent skills are not available. Many technology companies believe the system is too restrictive and that there are too few visas for their needs. Meanwhile, U.S. tech workers argue the companies are using the program to get cheap labor.

The fight over the visa program is a constant tug of war that has played out every year in Congress, and 2009 is no exception.

This time around, it looks like those favoring a more restrictive policy have won a few battles. CIO.com reports that one provision in the massive economic stimulus plan restricts H-1B hiring at companies that have received funds from the Trouble Assets Relief Program (TARP) and that have more than 15 percent of their workers on visas. In addition, there is a second provision in the stimulus bill that could restrict employers from hiring an H-1B visa worker if the company has had layoffs 90 days either prior to or following the hire, reports CIO.com.

Lawyers are still trying to interpret the legislative language and see how it will be applied. These changes certainly will not be the last word in this Congress regarding H-1B visas, but one would expect that the huge number of layoffs and resulting expanded talent pool of unemployed tech workers will make it difficult for industry to get an expansion of the visa program any time soon.
 
For more on H-1B restrictions:
- see this CIO.com article

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