Eliminating OPT would harm the revenue of US universities that attract thousands of foreign students as students will flock to countries like Canada that provide post-graduation options to gain work experience with an option to move to more permanent status in the country.
Poorvi Chothani is the founder and managing partner of LawQuest, an employment and immigration boutique law firm. Poorvi, a graduate of University of Pennsylvania, is admitted to the bar in India and the USA and is a registered and practicing solicitor, England and Wales. She holds senior leadership positions in the American Bar Association, American Immigration Lawyers Association and the International Bar Association.The American Tech Workforce Act seeks to incentivise American companies to hire local workers. The bill proposes a wage floor for H-1B worker to be set at the higher of the annual wage last paid to an American worker who filled the position or $110,000.
This could create an untenable burden on the US arms of Indian IT companies. But do remember that all H-1B workers even under current regulations must be paid the higher of actual wages or prevailing wages for workers with the same qualification in the same position. The proposed bill if passed into law could generate a bidding war for eligible foreign nationals.
Instead a system like the Canadian one that gives extra points for wage levels would be more objective in my opinion.
The bill further seeks to eliminate the Optional Practical Training (OPT) program that allows certain foreign students to gain work experience.
A big attraction to availing of an expensive, US education is the ability to gain work experience of one year at least and up to 3 years for STEM students. Eliminating OPT would harm the revenue of US universities that attract thousands of foreign students as students will flock to countries like Canada that provide post-graduation options to gain work experience with an option to move to more permanent status in the country.
The proposed limit of one-year work authorisation when companies, staffing companies or third parties fill positions at end clients would be a great deterrent for Indian IT companies.
This is because the business model for many of them includes services and staffing support at the client site. If they have to incur expenses to file H-1B renewals each year it could become prohibitively expensive.