H1B Bill 130K wage confusion - bill summary

H1B Bill 130K Wage – Confusion – What’s Reality ? New H1B Visa Bill Summary ?

In H1B Visa News by Kumar85 Comments

Recent speculations by media and news websites, solely based on “ Leaked Executive Order on H1B, L1 Visas by Trump’s Administration” and the recent H1B Bill “High-Skilled Integrity and Fairness Act of 2017“  introduced in house by Rep. Zoe Lofgren, have been blown out of proportion and creating confusion and anxiety in many current and prospective H1B visa holders. Due to the same timing of both of the executive order and H1B bill news, they are combined and facts are misinterpreted by many news agencies, which is the sole reason for the confusion. We will try to articulate the reality to clear all the confusions.

First let’s look at both of the news separately. If you have not read, first read Leaked Executive Order on H1B, L1 Visa by Trump .  Now, Let’s look at the other news. Below is the summary of the H1B 130K Bill.

Short Summary of the H1B Bill 130K – High-Skilled Integrity and Fairness Act of 2017

  • Immigrant Visas ( Green Cards ) : Eliminate the per country cap for employment based immigrant visas and also raise the per country cap for family sponsored immigrant visas from 7% to 15%
  • H1B Program Changes : For H1B Dependent Employer, increase the current wage exemption level from $60,000 USD  to about $130,000 USD or higher, which is set based on 35 percentile points over the median of annual wage for “Computer and Mathematical Occupations (Group 15-0000)”. Basically set at 85 percentile points. The key thing to note is, it only applies to H1B Dependent Employers. Also, eliminate the masters degree exemption for H1B Dependent employers.
  • Transparency for H1B Holders : Employers should provide immigration paperwork to H1B visa holders within 3 years from the date the petition was filed. I believe, this is to avoid employers locking H1B holders and treating them unfairly as they hold H1B, Green Card paperwork.
  • Change Prevailing Wage System for H1B LCA : Increase the prevailing wage requirements by replacing Level 4 wage system to a 3-level wage formula.
  • Market Based H1B Visa Allocation : prioritize allocation of H1B Visas based on who pays more. First Priority to employers who pay 200% over Level 3 prevailing wage, then 150% of Level 3 prevailing wage. Next Priority to employers who pay 200% over Level 2 prevailing wage, then 150% of Level 2 prevailing wage, similarly for other levels. Also, no voluntary authorizations by employees to pay reduced wages, the employer has to pay full wages all the time.
  • H1B Visa for Small and Startup Employers : Reserve 20% of H1B cap for small and startups with 50 or less employees. Such employers cannot put their employees at third party site for more than 30 days.
  • Visa Provisions for Students, Other Visa holders : Provide dual intent for F1 students status, so that they are not denied visas based on potential immigrant option. Also, provide employment and travel authorization for such visa holders with approved employment based petitions waiting for their Green Card.
  • Paperwork Burden & Enforcement : Remove administrative cost to employers eliminating the need to file H1B amendment with USCIS upon work site change, if they have filed LCA for the new place. Also, USCIS to provide H1B violations  data to DOL for investigations and enforcement.

Now, Where is the confusion of 130K Wage ?
Many ignore the caveat called H1B Dependent employer, which is the big trick (see below). H1B Visa Dependent Employer on H1B 130K billThe wage increase of 130K applies only to H1B Dependent Employers. The 130K wage is based on the fact of 35 percentile points over the median of annual wage for Computer and Mathematical Occupations (Group 15-0000) for 2015, basically set at 85 percentile points. Below is the table from Department of Labor.

Percentile 10% 25% 50%
(Median)
75% 90%
Hourly Wage $20.12 $27.94 $39.15 $52.64 $66.55
Annual Wage $41,850 $58,120 $81,430 $109,490 $138,420

So, Who is a H1B Dependent Employer ? Whats the reality ?
An employer is H1B Dependent, if they they have

  • 25 or less full time employees and at least 8 of them are H1B workers.
  • 26 to 50 full time employees and at least 13 of them are H1B workers.
  • 51 or more employees, of which 15% or more of the employees are H1B Workers.

This not something new, usually this is an option in the LCA for the employer to fill, when they file LCA with Dept of Labor.  Below option in LCA application( page 4) is what employers usually check, if they a H1B dependent employer. The screenshot is from Infosys LCA Postings .  If you check LCAs of Accenture, it is not a H1B Dependent.  You can read the Official Factsheet on DOL Website on H1B Dependent EmployerH1B Dependent Employer - Sample Screenshot

If you look closely, except few large outsourcing Indian MNCs and IT Bodyshop consulting companies in US, many large global companies do not even fall under H1B dependent employer.  So, NOT to panic everyone, this 130K does not apply to every single H1B petition.

There are some provisions proposed on changing prevailing wage levels from 4 Levels to 3 Levels like below, but it will not really change all the prevailing wages to 130K USD. This wage is mentioned in LCA and you can read What is LCA and Why it is required . I will cover the details of the below formula in another article and how it change numbers across and assess the impact.

Old Formula (4 Levels) New Formula (3 Levels)
Level 1 = approximately the mean of the bottom 1/3 of wages surveyed.

Level 2 = just under the mean of the bottom 2/3 of wages surveyed.

Level 3 = just under the mean of all wages surveyed. Level 4 = approximately the mean of the top 2/3 of wages surveyed.

Level 1 = mean of bottom 2/3 of wages surveyed.

Level 2 = mean of all wages surveyed.

Level 3 = mean of top 2/3 of wages surveyed.

That’s the summary folks, hope it clarifies and it is clear now. Do not panic.

Whats the current status on the H1B Bill ? Is it Passed in 2017 ?
It was just introduced in the house on Jan 24, 2017. As of now, the Bill has  no co-sponsors and the representative is from Democratic party, which is opposition now to Trump administration. The odds of getting this bill passed as is are very slim. There are other H1B bills too, we have H1B Bills Tracker under Trump for high level info. It has official links for you to check status. Nothing will happen overnight, so stay tuned.

Any other points that I missed ? Any other confusions ?

References :

Related Articles


Comments ( 85 )

  1. Vishay

    Hi All…please help here.

    I understand the $130K rule applies to H1 dependent employers only. If this rule is implemented, would it also raise salaries of those who’re already here on H1 or does it only apply to applications going forward?

    I am contemplating a job switch & want to know this.

    Thanks.

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Vishay,
      It is too early to speculate. The rule has not moved anywhere since it was introduced in House. We just have to wait and see…

  2. Aditya

    I found a video explaining how the 130K situation can be tackled in case if the bill is approved: https://youtu.be/i2riWPv-Z8I
    It looks logical to me and makes sense to me.
    Can some one comment on how genuine the suggested solution is in that video?

  3. Sameer Singh

    Jeff Sessions is newly appointed attorney general. Would definitely tighten rules on H1B sooner or later given his history on this issue.

  4. SMG

    Hi,

    Any idea by when we will get clarity on this bill?

    I have got my Visa approved this year. But unfortunately due to personal emergency I will not be able to travel. Will I be eligible for CAP exempt next year? and considering the new bill,will it be difficult to use my H1b next year?

    Iam really worried now as it looks like I almost lost my H1b opportunity.

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      In fact, there is not much happening or leaking 🙂 I am sure, it will be all over the news, if there is any leak or something is signed. There are bigger problems with the one Executive Order that the Trump Administration has signed, that they are dealing with now…

      1. sumit shah

        Kumar/ Saurabh,
        Although my question is not related to this topic.

        I have a question and I am getting confusing answers. Hope you can help.
        I have an approved H1B i797 till 2018, but not yet stamped. It was given 221g and sent back by DOS to USCIS for review due to employer issues. Can I apply for a tourist b2 visa and travel to US and then get a cap exempt h1 filed by a new employer? Or Will they reject my b2 petition in first place? Reason I want a b2 is I am not getting any US based employers/ genuine desi companies from India who can file a cap exempt. I used to have a b1/b2 which expired last year. Will that work in my favor.
        Pls help clarify.

  5. Srinidhi

    HI Folks ,
    Will these regulations have any impact on the Visa approval from USCIS ?My company had applied for me in regular process , My case was picked in lottery and still shows as “case received” after 94 days.

    Thanks

  6. sim

    Hi Guys,

    I have visitor VISA interview scheduled for USA. Can you please give me any tips? I am really worried as I am Indian, but currently posted in UK and then planning to apply visitor VISA for US.

  7. Sridhar

    This is really a very good article !!!… This bill has positives and also some negatives. Whatever it may be, it is time for us to plan our future with more caution in US..

  8. ganga

    I am wondering if this is beginning to affect IT contracting already. Housing in the Washington area has drastically fallen and looks like its related to the fact that very little hiring is going on in the market. few hires=few new housing opportunities for professionals.

  9. H1B Aspirant 2018

    People who are born in India settled in USA and got citizenship in USA can be considered as “Americans” ???or they should be born in USA ?? maybe irrelevant question in this forum, however I would like to understand it.

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Once you get a US passport and have US citizenship either by naturalization or birth, you are a citizen…Past does not matter. It can be a little tricky, when you have dual citizenship depending on how they interpret it…

  10. Patrick Trombly

    Yeah, you did miss a point.

    For those H1B-dependent firms you reference, you are stating that the hike to $130K wage floor from $60K wage floor means that certain workers making $55K now won’t simply get a $75K raise.

    According to Progressive Economic Theory, that’s what will happen. That’s how wage floors work. They’ve been saying this for years to justify at $15/hr minimum wage.

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Partick,
      Well, we do not know at this point, how it will impact existing H1B Dependent employers’ workers with a low wage. Specific details are not given in the current bill. We will have to wait and see what happens and how that are addressed.

  11. Amit Das

    Hello,

    1). Can someone please clarify what does “Masters Degree Exemption removal” mean? Earlier and now 20000 H1B was reserved quota for US educated MS candidates on F1, rest 65000 for general quota. Does this mean this 20000 quota being removed and the total quota becomes 85000 irrespective of US MS degree candidates ?

    2). Also the new legislation talks about “Bridge for F1 candidates for route to Green Card” – what does that mean?

    3). Is OPT period being changed from current 28 months post graduation?

    Thanks you.

    1. Digvijay Singh Rathore

      Hi,

      1) ‘Masters degree exemption’ meant that earlier if you want to hire a foreign worker on H1B you better be paying him 60k minimum ‘OR’ that worker should have a Masters degree. So removal of this exemption means you have to pay the foreign worker the floor salary no matter what.
      2)if F1 becomes a dual intent visa (like H1B, L1) then after your masters there will be options for you to directly apply for a greencard (before you had to apply for H1B first as F1 was not dual intent)
      3. No news about OPT yet. We’ll have to wait and watch

      1. robo

        2. Second one isn’t really true. Our company applies for GC whenever a F1 student joins us. Many of them from ROW get their GC even before the H1 (when they have to wait till 3rd attempt for h1). Even the Indian ones have their 140 approved even before H1 gets picked up. Company can sponsor for GC for anyone on any visa status.

  12. ABC

    The current environment will lead to two things. Many Employers and Managers will reconsider hiring H1-B, even if no bill is passed. Only a schmuck will put their own career on line to hire h1-b.

    Secondly many students will not come to US for studies when prospects for jobs after graduation may decrease significantly.

  13. El Jefe

    The item that should be added to the H1 visa is that the H1B holder should be allowed to change jobs during the duration of their H1 visa grant. Perhaps this will eliminate the abuses the H1 holders may encounter on the job.

    Wow…. what would that actually look like for the entire H1 environment. Or would the H1 holder get blackballed like the American workers who speak outside of their NDAs.

    1. Digvijay Singh Rathore

      This Bill is great for F1 guys for 2 reasons
      1. It would provide options to immigrate in the US by making F1 a dual intent visa.
      2. F1 students are highly unlikely to join an ‘H1B dependent firm’ so this 130k floor salary won’t apply on you as they are subjected on H1B dependent firms (IT outsourcing companies).
      This will drastically increase your chances of securing an H1B which predominantly went to the IT outsourcing companies before.

      1. G

        I did my masters from the US but could not land H1B so had to return to India. If this bill is passed if I can ask my previous employer to rehire me. Will I have a chance to get green card or will it applicable only for new graduates?

        1. Spit Sinaul

          Hello G,

          If I may suggest, you better stay in India, and not consider returning to the USA. For starters, you can eat the delicious masala dosa everyday. Also, I am planning to open a new restaurant Dosa Hut in several cities across India. I can give you an annual pass for you to enjoy unlimited dosas on the house, for only Rs. 3600/year. We will also have free WiFi so you can enjoy Whatsapp-ing your friends around the world.

          Regards,
          Spit Sinaul
          VP, Dosa Hut Operations India

        1. Zhu

          Thank Prashantha

          I’m working in Ebay and see the total H1B Visa (2012-2015) is 2192.
          Not sure about percentage. But I see the Number of LCA of Infosys in 2017 is 25,405

  14. Jeff

    The lottery system will be replaced with another one where the priority will be given to the applications with top salary! Let’s see how many applications will be filled this year. Likes of TCS, Wipro, Infosys, CTS already started replacing their H1B/L1 employees with local workforce. Most of the companies like that have more than 15% H1B employees.

    USCIS will do site visits for all the existing L1 cases within 6 months and all the H1B cases within 2 years. Unless you are a genuine full-time employee, your visa will be revoked.

    1. Melissa

      I do hope so Jeff. I do like the idea of rising salary to 130k for h1b dependand companies and make inspections every 1-2 years to see if that person is still working with that salary. If not, visa revocation immediately. If the same company is caugh cheating several times then the company can not apply for new visas anymore. Getting a visa to usa is a priviledge,not a right, so it should be used that way.

      1. El Jefe

        Auditing is a great idea, but no one is talking about the h1b who are also in the accounting firms.

        To protect the integrity of the “catching someone” process and remove the emotional aspects of “catching someone” it will have to be automated. It could be set up just like the credit card system. Taxes paid for ID number (by the employer) is matched against database and you get real-time results.

  15. Jeff

    Wait and see until Trump clamp down on the H1B/L1/F1 visas. Yes, this bill might not be passed as it is, but another bill will be passed this year after an executive order for sure and that will end the misuse of these visas. People who are already here on these visas will have a hard time getting it extended if your case is not genuine. One thing is sure; the days of misusing H1B for cheap labor is over. Finally the bay area house prices and rent will come back to where it should be!!!

    If you are not familiar with the following names, do some research

    1) Stephen Miller (Trump Policy Advisor)
    2) Steve Bannon (Trump Advisor)
    3) Jeff Sessions (Attorney General)

    Pack up and get ready!

  16. SS

    My company is a Non-IT company….all mechanical engineers …but is a h1b dependent employer. Will this wage increase of $130000 also applies to my company and me?

    1. Luckychap

      The bill states that the wage increase is for Computer and Mathematical Occupations (Group 15-0000), so it might not be applicable for the job that you are describing. Check your LCA petition to see the job category and confirm.

  17. Deborah

    I do think this new Bill might be a GOOD solution for H1B. I think its positive to rise $130K to dependant companies. I mean, come one, you are really saying me your company cant find 15%+ of your workers in USA? Or you found a trick to get more money by hiring 90% of your people from India?

      1. Melissa

        Well I dont believe that. There are many usa workers who can do the same job as indian workers, but of course they will ask for more money because they are not slaves.

    1. El Jefe

      The visa system is being abused by countries around the world. No one said anyone when the nail salons were being taken over by one group. US citizen nail salon students complained about how they were treated. And no one cared. So on to the medical, education, construction, accounting, IT and more.

      So the next time you are out and about in today’s society and only see one group working at a company or an industry. Think visa programs?

    2. Number

      Dude, get your numbers corrected up. “I mean, come one, you are really saying me your company cant find 15%+ of your workers in USA?”. You must have had 85% there and not 15%

  18. SUBASH BALAKRISHNAN

    Mr Kumar Somehow I strongly beleive this new BILL is very good as it serves as a Lesson to all Indian IT Companies . Secondly Im sure that this time no of applications itself will reduce probably less than the overall quota of 85000 . Moreover tell me if a person applies through a small co he or she has more advantage as per the new bill as 20% is reserved fr them out of 85000 quota . Please confirm

    1. Luckychap

      “The 20% reservation applicable companies cannot deploy their employees at 3rd party site for more than 30 days”. That is an important clause to weed out the fraud consulting companies who just give a path to the people who are not so skilled but just want to immigrate, while simultaneously helping out the genuine startups.

      This bill is crafted very intelligently and I fully support that. Lofgren is a very intelligent representative.

  19. Shijo Joseph

    If you see the bill it has almost zero chance to pass..So relax guys..it doesn’t have even one co-sponor as of Feb 3 2017.. even if it passes it will relive H1b from lot of trouble… H.R. 670 (https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/670/all-info)

  20. TechGuy

    Hi,

    Very helpful post. I have a question. What’s the impact on Minimum Wage for an employee of a Non H1-b dependent employer. I see the old formula which has 4 levels and new with 3 levels. Approximately how much percentage of increase can we expect. Let’s say,for example, for location x, the level 2 minimum wage is 64,000 what it could be in per this law. Thanks.

  21. Ramkey

    Dear Kumar,
    Is this bill eliminates long waiting times for I-140 approved cases so that these individuals can apply 485 ?
    Regards,
    Ramkey

    1. Deborah

      I do believe it might drop a little. I would guess around 8k-10k for H1B applications last year were from one of the travel banned countries. I see no point of applying a visa for them if they cant get to USA to work here. So maybe those people would not apply this year.

  22. XYZ

    I know most of the people may not like it but this is a good bill which takes care of the genuine H1B aspirants. It is high time to end the H1B lottery madness. Why is it that only few companies grab 8000+ visas each?. Just imagine if they are getting 8000 petitions approved after going through the lottery and approval process, it means they would have submitted ~20000 petitions to begin with. Do they really identify job opportunities for 20000 people in USA each year?. These offshore based outsourcing companies use H1B as a carrot to retain the employees for couple of years. There are cases where they would not have even traveled due to lack of openings in their respective projects even after getting H1B, wasting a precious visa. There is nothing wrong in making it strict for H1B dependent employers either body shoppers in US or offshore outsourcing companies.

    1. Deborah

      I agree XYZ, especially when you say that after getting a visa they dont even travel to USA because there are no openings in the company. While I am currently working two years in my job at USA with J2 and my manager tries to do his best for me to stay. Thats not fair.

  23. srini

    I came india for 1 month vacation and iam planning to return on Feb 19th. Iam holding H1B visa, do i need to prepone my return or i can stay without any issues ? Please advice.

    Thanks

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      srini,
      Nothing changes as of now. It is too early to speculate until something is signed. We do not know at this point.

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      It is too early to speculate. USCIS will give guidance on how existing cases will need to be handled. We just have to wait and see…

      1. suchita

        Hi Mr Kumar
        One question .. What happens for the wages to be paid by small companies and start ups .. will it be as per the wages applicable as before ?

Leave a Comment

Comments Policy :
  • Comments are to drive conversation, add your thoughts, experiences, ask questions!
  • Do NOT write hate speech, swear words, or get into fight. Maintain etiquette
  • Enter your Name, valid Email, URL(optional - Facebook, LinkedIn profile URLs).
  • Your email will NOT be published. Do NOT post any phone numbers, email-ids
  • Do NOT post any links from other websites, unless official sites, University websites.
  • By submitting your comment, you agree to Term and Conditions of our website.