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Ro Khanna on H-1B reform bill: US lawmakers should ensure work visa is not abused

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In March, Khanna had introduced a bipartisan bill.

Indian American Congressman Ro Khanna, while speaking at a discussion hosted by Atlantic Council on reforming the H-1B and L-1 visas for high-skilled workers, said that it is the responsibility of the lawmakers to make sure that the popular visa program is not misused.

Speaking during a discussion moderated by Dr Bharath Gopalaswamy, Director, South Asia Center Atlantic Council, Khanna said, “We want to make sure that it’s being done with proper compensation. That they are not being underpaid that they’re not that they’re being paid a wage that is the prevailing wage.”

“There are people who are now leading huge tech companies that started out on H-1B visas. They are creating jobs and they’re creating innovation. We want to make sure that talent is coming to the US because we know that most H-1B visas when you look at those studies are job creators. They are not job takers,” said Congressman Ro Khanna

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Atlantic Council, which provides a forum for discussing ways for implementing economic and political changes through a network of global leaders, hosted the discussion to hear from Khanna about his proposed bill centered on reforming the H-1B and L-1 visas for high-skilled workers.

Earlier in March this year, Khanna had introduced a bipartisan bill to “reform and reduce fraud and abuse” in H-1B and L1 visa, which was co-sponsored by Rep. Dave Brat (R-Virginia) and Rep. Paul A. Gosar (R-Arizona).

Khanna, a freshman who represents parts of Silicon Valley had back then said that the bill is intended to end H1-B abuses.

“As the son of immigrants, I know that immigrants strengthen our nation and economy,” he said. “But we cannot allow for companies to underpay foreign workers and use them to replace American workers. Instead, we need American companies to invest in our own workforce. The bill will prevent the exploitation of foreign workers while still recognizing the contributions immigrants make to our economy.”

During the discussion on Wednesday Khanna said through his bill he wants to make sure that people coming on H-1B are paid high so that Americans are not at the losing end.

Khanna said, “But the gist of it is we want to make sure that folks are coming on and H1-B visa is paid a high wage so that it’s not undercutting the American market and people are not mistaking H-1B visa holders as something that benefits corporations and putting downward pressure on American wages.”

“That they’re really looking at it is a program that’s going to help get the best and brightest into the United States to create jobs in the US,” Khanna added.