In this time of record unemployment and economic hardship for millions of Americans we call on Congress to institute an immediate moratorium on, and investigation of abuses of, the U.S. Guest Worker Visa programs commonly referred to as H1 and H2 visa programs.
These programs, intended as stop-gap measures to fill needed positions in specialty areas have been abused through loopholes to eliminate American workers and replace them with a permenant pool of lower paid foreign "guest" workers.
Sen. Tom Harkin, (D) Iowa, Chairman, U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
Sen. Mike Enzi, (R) Wyoming, Ranking Member, U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
Rep. John Kline, (R) Minnesota, Chairman, House Committee on Education and The Workforce
Rep. Tim Walberg, (R) Michigan, Chairman, House Subcommittee on Workforce Protections
Rep. Lynn Woolsey, (D) California, Ranking Member, House Subcommittee on Workforce Protections
In this time of record unemployment and economic hardship for millions of Americans we call on you to institute an immediate moratorium on, and investigation of abuses of, the U.S. Guest Worker Visa programs commonly referred to as H1 and H2 visa programs.
These programs, intended as stop-gap measures to fill needed positions in specialty areas have been abused through loopholes to eliminate American workers and replace them with lower paid foreign ones. Specifically:
• Provisions that foreign workers be employed by the sponsoring employer are routinely skirted or ignored.
o Skilled Labor temporary agencies hire foreign workers then send the employees to work at other corporations.
o So called “body shops” sponsor foreign workers then “terminate” them so they can be hired by other corporations.
• Stipulations that the use of foreign workers does not depress the prevailing wage are routinely ignored.
o Once foreign workers replace an American worker, the foreign worker’s salary becomes the prevailing wage for the position by design, making the position a low-paid position that can only be filled by other foreign workers.
o The overall cost of foreign workers (who are often temporary) tends to be lower when accounting for healthcare, 401K, and other worker benefits that are typically allotted to American workers. Therefore the overall prevailing wage is depressed when one-time permanent positions become low-paying temporary positions filled by foreign workers.
• One year caps on foreign worker visas are rarely, if ever enforced. In fact, most foreign workers remain in the U.S. for 3 to 5 years or more.
o As those workers currently in the U.S. have their visas extended and additional workers are brought in on new visas, the net effect is an increasing pool of foreign workers at the expense of American workers.
o With a labor pool of foreign workers available, employers are free to offer lower prevailing wages and benefits confident that a foreign worker or “body shop” will provide the needed resource at the price demanded.
These programs were intended as temporary solutions as American employers retrained existing labor pools to fill needed positions. However, it is clear that few employers seek opportunities to retrain existing labor pools, nor invest in hiring permanent full-time workers when a ready pool of low-cost, temporary workers is available.
Employers site the unavailability of qualified candidates as the impetus for hiring foreign labor. A copious amount of anecdotal evidence suggests this is not the case. Rather, employers are loath to offer a fair prevailing wage, offer relocation assistance, or offer re-training opportunities to existing employees when such a large pool of foreign workers exists.
American workers call on you to stop giving away our jobs. We call on you to:
1. Place an immediate moratorium on all foreign worker visa programs.
2. Institute an immediate investigation of guest worker visa programs and abuses of them.
3. Create and maintain a complaint/reporting mechanism where American workers who feel that their jobs are being unfairly replaced by guest workers can have their complaints investigated and enter into arbitration with the employer to resolve the complaint.
6. Create and institute a fine structure for those employers who have willingly violated the guest worker program provisions by effectively lowering the prevailing wage for skilled positions or are found to have violated any provisions of the guest worker programs.
7. Establish a skilled positions clearing house that lists job descriptions of the types of positions that are being filled by foreign workers so that college students and older workers seeking re-training can focus on the needed skill sets.
8. Institute tougher requirements for employers to seek and retain American workers prior to hiring foreign workers and provide sufficient evidence of a reasonable search for an American worker.
9. Restructure the guest foreign worker program so that it is a stop-gap solution to a temporary need and does not result in the creation of a permanent foreign worker pool as it has thus far.
10. Failing the above, immediately terminate all foreign guest worker visas until a sensible solution that protects American jobs can be put in place.
Congressperson, you were elected to serve and protect the interests of the American people and took an oath to do so through the auspices of the Constitution of the United States of America.
Please do so.
Stop giving away American jobs to foreign workers.