Indian information technology (IT) companies would now have to factor in an additional $2,000 per H-1B visa and L-1 visa to fund a US healthcare legislation for 9/11 victims.

The move will hit Indian IT companies such as Infosys, Wipro and Tech Mahindra.

The latest legislation has been included in the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act that finances health screenings and treatments for 9/11 first responders. 

The news of the proposed legislation comes days after two Republican senators, Ted Cruz and Jeff Sessions, introduced the American Jobs First Act of 2015  "to stop abuse of the legal immigration system and ensure American workers are better served."

"The American Jobs First Act of 2015 is a necessary effort to repair the H-1B visa program to prevent it from displacing American workers," Senator Cruz had said on 10 December.

The H-1B programme is nowhere close to the programme it is said to be. Far from filling 'labor shortages', it is being used to destroy existing jobs of American workers. This legislation would improve wage standards for the H-1B visa, block its use as a cheap labor programme, and scrap the terribly abused foreign worker 'training programme', which has become a backdoor method for replacing American workers," Senator Sessions had said.

The Bill that envisages the special $2,000 has been desgined in a way to specifically target Indian IT companies, reports PTI. The legislation on 1 October and US lawmakers want to make it permanent. The fee was first imposed in 2010.

"This extra fee applies to companies with at least 50% of their employees on H-1B visa or L-1 visas, and is in addition to the other fees paid by employers. Because of its 50% threshold, it mostly hits the large Indian IT services firms, the leading users of the H-1B visa," Computer World reported.

The American Jobs First Act of 2015

The two key features of the Act moved by Ted Cruz and Jeff Sessions are:

  • H-1B employers who seek H-1B visas under the program to commit to paying the foreign workers they recruit either what an American worker who did identical or similar work made two years prior to the recruiting effort, or $110,000 (whichever is higher).
  • Establishing a "layoff cool-off" period of two years (730 days), which would prevent an employer from bringing on an H-1B visa-based foreign worker within two years of an employee strike, an employer lockout, layoffs, furloughs, or other types of involuntary employee terminations other than for-cause dismissals.