Legislation Moves Forward on H1B Visa Exemptions

Today the House Judiciary Committee passed the Protect and Grow American Jobs Act, HR 170, which aims to curb companies from abusing the H1B visa system. Alliance members and tech employers rely on H1B employees who bring valuable skills from foreign countries. But companies that hire large numbers of H1B-dependent employees, often underpaying them market rate salaries, make the already tough visa system more cumbersome and difficult for employers to find quality, high skilled talent they need to innovate and compete. 

The House bill changes a few key components of current law, including the threshold for an H1B worker to be considered exempt. The legislation passed out of committee on a voice vote following the adoption of an amendment proposed by Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA). 

Protect and Grow American Jobs Act

The salary requirement for exemption is at least $90,000 per year, possibly higher depending on the location and average salary

Masters degree exemption removed

Employers must confirm a US worker is not replaced during the H1B visa holder's employment

A company with a full time H1B workforce of 20% or higher is considered "H-1B dependent" 


Current Law

The salary requirement for exemption is $60,000 per year


A master's degree or higher

Employers must confirm they've attempted to hire or recruit a US worker for the role(s)

A company with a full time H1B workforce of 15% or higher is considered "H-1B dependent"

The Alliance and its members know first-hand the value that H1B visa workers bring to the tech community. This legislation will help combat abuses to the worker-based visa program and level the playing field for startups and mid-size companies to recruit and retain high-skilled foreign workers when their skill sets aren't found here at home.  

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Rachel Emeis

Director, US Innovators Policy Council