>> Tech companies in the US may now have a fight on their hands. The main US Visa program for technology workers could face renewed scrutiny under Trump's proposed Attorney General, Senator Jeff Sessions. The H-1B visa admits 85,000 workers a year, and Sessions has long sought to curtail them, says Reuters' reporter Stephen Nellis.
>> On the campaign trail, Donald Trump sent mixed signals about this, but Senator Sessions has been pretty staunchly opposed to the program. Specifically because it's been used in the past to replace large numbers of American workers at companies like Disney or Southern California Edison, which outsource their IT departments to Indian contractors who then brought in workers that the American workers had to, in some cases, even trained to do the jobs that they were going to take over.
>> It's not all abuse, tech firms like Microsoft and Google do use the Visa Program to hire highly skilled foreign workers who can be hard to find here. But a breakdown of the H-1B visa data shows the top ten recipients of the Visa last year were all outsourcing firms like TATA Consultancy and Infosys, both are based in India.
Amazon, by contrast, ranked 12th. Google and Microsoft, 14th and 15th, and Apple at 34th. Some working on the H-1B Visas say they can't switch jobs because of risk of deportation, and that makes it easier for employers to pay them less.>> So some of the proposals that have to improve this program would be things like raising the minimum wage they could be paid.
Right now it's at about $60,000, which is actually well below market for IT jobs in some of the larger cities in the US. So $100,000 or more has been batted around.>> Another proposal from the industry, award Visas to companies offering the highest paying jobs rather than the current lottery system.
That, they say, could help shut out employers looking to mine the program for cheap foreign labor.