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US Senate Imposes Conditions on H-1B Hiring in Economics Stimulus Bill

The United States Senate has adopted, by voice vote, a new amendment to the Economic Stimulus bill that may affect many H-1B employers and employees. This new amendment, Amendment 306, which was cosponsored by Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT), has restrictions for H-1B employers who will be receiving money under the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP). According to the amendment, all employers who receive TARP funds can hire foreign workers only if the employer operates as an “H-1B dependent employers” for two (2) years. H-1B dependent employers must demonstrate that they are actively recruiting US workers and are not displacing any US workers with H-1B employees; furthermore, the employer must show that laid off US workers are not being replaced with H-1B employees.

Originally, Senators Grassley and Sanders wrote the amendment so that all employers who would receive money under TARP would not be able to hire any H-1B employees for one year. This amendment, however, was not as readily accepted and the amendment was changed to its current version.
The restriction in regard to hiring of H-1B workers as stated above is not final as yet. The restriction in regard to H-1B workers is in the Senate version of the Economic Stimulus Bill. The House of Representative’s version of the Economic Stimulus Bill does not have the provision regarding the restriction of H-1B workers. In order to arrive at the final Economic Stimulus Bill, the Senate version and the House of Representative version of the Economic Stimulus Bill have to be reconciled at a Conference Committee. It is theoretically possible that restrictions in regard to the H-1B workers may be removed from the final Economics Stimulus Bill by the Conference Committee.