The text of the bill below is as of May 19, 1998 (Referred to House Committee). The bill was not enacted into law.
S 1723 RFH
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
May 19, 1998
May 19, 1998
Referred to the Committee on the Judiciary, and in addition to the Committees on Education and the Workforce, and International Relations, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned
To amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to assist the United States to remain competitive by increasing the access of United States firms and institutions of higher education to skilled personnel and by expanding educational and training opportunities for American students and workers.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; REFERENCES IN ACT.
(a) SHORT TITLE- This Act may be cited as the ‘American Competitiveness Act’.
(b) REFERENCES IN ACT- Except as otherwise specifically provided in this Act, whenever in this Act an amendment or repeal is expressed as an amendment to or a repeal of a provision, the reference shall be deemed to be made to the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101 et seq.).
SEC. 2. FINDINGS.
Congress makes the following findings:
(1) American companies today are engaged in fierce competition in global markets.
(2) Companies across America are faced with severe high skill labor shortages that threaten their competitiveness.
(3) The National Software Alliance, a consortium of concerned government, industry, and academic leaders that includes the United States Army, Navy, and Air Force, has concluded that ‘The supply of computer science graduates is far short of the number needed by industry.’. The Alliance concludes that the current severe understaffing could lead to inflation and lower productivity.
(4) The Department of Labor projects that the United States economy will produce more than 130,000 information technology jobs in each of the next 10 years, for a total of more than 1,300,000.
(5) Between 1986 and 1995, the number of bachelor’s degrees awarded in computer science declined by 42 percent. Therefore, any short-term increases in enrollment may only return the United States to the 1986 level of graduates and take several years to produce these additional graduates.
(6) A study conducted by Virginia Tech for the Information Technology Association of America estimates that there are more than 340,000 unfilled positions for highly skilled information technology workers in American companies.
(7) The Hudson Institute estimates that the unaddressed shortage of skilled workers throughout the United States economy will result in a 5-percent drop in the growth rate of GDP. That translates into approximately $200,000,000,000 in lost output, nearly $1,000 for every American.
(8) It is necessary to deal with the current situation with both short-term and long-term measures.
(9) In fiscal year 1997, United States companies and universities reached the cap of 65,000 on H-1B temporary visas a month before the end of the fiscal year. In fiscal year 1998 the cap is expected to be reached as early as May if Congress takes no action. And it will be hit earlier each year until backlogs develop of such a magnitude as to prevent United States companies and researchers from having any timely access to skilled foreign-born professionals.
(10) It is vital that more American young people be encouraged and equipped to enter technical fields, such as mathematics, engineering, and computer science.
(11) If American companies cannot find home-grown talent, and if they cannot bring talent to this country, a large number are likely to move key operations overseas, sending those and related American jobs with them.
(12) Inaction in these areas will carry significant consequences for the future of American competitiveness around the world and will seriously undermine efforts to create and keep jobs in the United States.
SEC. 3. INCREASED ACCESS TO SKILLED PERSONNEL FOR UNITED STATES COMPANIES AND UNIVERSITIES.
(a) ESTABLISHMENT OF H1-C NONIMMIGRANT CATEGORY-
(1) IN GENERAL- Section 101(a)(15)(H)(i) (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(H)(i)) is amended--
(A) by inserting ‘and other than services described in clause (c)’ after ‘subparagraph (O) or (P)’; and
(B) by inserting after ‘section 212(n)(1)’ the following: ‘, or (c) who is coming temporarily to the United States to perform labor as a health care worker, other than a physician, in a specialty occupation described in section 214(i)(1), who meets the requirements of the occupation specified in section 214(i)(2), who qualifies for the exemption from the grounds of inadmissibility described in section 212(a)(5)(C), and with respect to whom the Attorney General certifies that the intending employer has filed with the Attorney General an application under section 212(n)(1).’.
(2) CONFORMING AMENDMENTS-
(A) Section 212(n)(1) is amended by inserting ‘or (c)’ after ‘section 101(a)(15)(H)(i)(b)’ each place it appears.
(B) Section 214(i) is amended by inserting ‘or (c)’ after ‘section 101(a)(15)(H)(i)(b)’ each place it appears.
(3) TRANSITION RULE- Any petition filed prior to the date of enactment of this Act, for issuance of a visa under section 101(a)(15)(H)(i)(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act on behalf of an alien described in the amendment made by paragraph (1)(B) shall, on and after that date, be treated as a petition filed under section 101(a)(15)(H)(i)(c) of that Act, as added by paragraph (1).
(b) ANNUAL CEILINGS FOR H1-B AND H1-C WORKERS-
(1) AMENDMENT OF THE INA- Section 214(g)(1) (8 U.S.C. 1184(g)(1)) is amended to read as follows:
‘(g)(1) The total number of aliens who may be issued visas or otherwise provided nonimmigrant status during any fiscal year--
‘(A) under section 101(a)(15)(H)(i)(b)--
‘(i) for each of fiscal years 1992 through 1997, and for any other fiscal year for which this subsection does not specify a higher ceiling, may not exceed 65,000,
‘(ii) for fiscal year 1998, may not exceed 95,000,
‘(iii) for fiscal year 1999, may not exceed the number determined for fiscal year 1998 under such section, minus 10,000, plus the number of unused visas under subparagraph (B) for the fiscal year preceding the applicable fiscal year, and
‘(iv) for fiscal year 2000, and each applicable fiscal year thereafter through fiscal year 2002, may not exceed the number determined for fiscal year 1998 under such section, minus 10,000, plus the number of unused visas under subparagraph (B) for the fiscal year preceding the applicable fiscal year, plus the number of unused visas under subparagraph (C) for the fiscal year preceding the applicable fiscal year;
‘(B) under section 101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(b), beginning with fiscal year 1992, may not exceed 66,000; or
‘(C) under section 101(a)(15)(H)(i)(c), beginning with fiscal year 1999, may not exceed 10,000.
For purposes of determining the ceiling under subparagraph (A) (iii) and (iv), not more than 20,000 of the unused visas under subparagraph (B) may be taken into account for any fiscal year.’.
(2) TRANSITION PROCEDURES- Any visa issued or nonimmigrant status otherwise accorded to any alien under clause (i)(b) or (ii)(b) of section 101(a)(15)(H) of the Immigration and Nationality Act pursuant to a petition filed during fiscal year 1998 but approved on or after October 1, 1998, shall be counted against the applicable ceiling in section 214(g)(1) of that Act for fiscal year 1998 (as amended by paragraph (1) of this subsection), except that, in the case where counting the visa or the other granting of status would cause the applicable ceiling for fiscal year 1998 to be exceeded, the visa or grant of status shall be counted against the applicable ceiling for fiscal year 1999.
SEC. 4. EDUCATION AND TRAINING IN SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY.
(a) DEGREES IN MATHEMATICS, COMPUTER SCIENCE, AND ENGINEERING- Subpart 4 of part A of title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1070c et seq.) is amended in section 415A(b) (20 U.S.C. 1070c(b)), by adding at the end the following new paragraph:
‘(3) MATHEMATICS, COMPUTER SCIENCE, AND ENGINEERING SCHOLARSHIPS- It shall be a permissible use of the funds made available to a State under this section for the State to establish a scholarship program for eligible students who demonstrate financial need and who seek to enter a program of study leading to a degree in mathematics, computer science, or engineering.’.
SEC. 5. INCREASED ENFORCEMENT PENALTIES AND IMPROVED OPERATIONS.
(a) INCREASED PENALTIES FOR VIOLATIONS OF H1-B OR H1-C PROGRAM- Section 212(n)(2)(C) (8 U.S.C. 1182(n)(2)(C)) is amended--
(1) by striking ‘a failure to meet’ and all that follows through ‘an application--’ and inserting ‘a willful failure to meet a condition in paragraph (1) or a willful misrepresentation of a material fact in an application--’; and
(2) in clause (i), by striking ‘$1,000’ and inserting ‘$5,000’.
(b) SPOT INSPECTIONS DURING PROBATIONARY PERIOD- Section 212(n)(2) (8 U.S.C. 1182(n)(2)) is amended--
(1) by redesignating subparagraph (D) as subparagraph (E); and
(2) by inserting after subparagraph (C) the following:
‘(D) The Secretary of Labor may, on a case-by-case basis, subject an employer to random inspections for a period of up to five years beginning on the date that such employer is found by the Secretary of Labor to have engaged in a willful failure to meet a condition of subparagraph (A), or a misrepresentation of material fact in an application.’.
(c) LAYOFF PROTECTION FOR UNITED STATES WORKERS- Section 212(n)(2) (8 U.S.C. 1182(n)(2)), as amended by subsection (b), is further amended by adding at the end the following:
‘(F)(i) If the Secretary finds, after notice and opportunity for a hearing, a willful failure to meet a condition in paragraph (1) or a willful misrepresentation of a material fact in an application, in the course of which the employer has replaced a United States worker with a nonimmigrant described in section 101(a)(15)(H)(i) (b) or (c) within the 6-month period prior to, or within 90 days following, the filing of the application--
‘(I) the Secretary shall notify the Attorney General of such finding, and may, in addition, impose such other administrative remedies (including civil monetary penalties in an amount not to exceed $25,000 per violation) as the Secretary determines to be appropriate; and
‘(II) the Attorney General shall not approve petitions filed with respect to the employer under section 204 or 214(c) during a period of at least 2 years for aliens to be employed by the employer.
‘(ii) For purposes of this subparagraph:
‘(I) The term ‘replace’ means the employment of the nonimmigrant at the specific place of employment and in the specific employment opportunity from which a United States worker with substantially equivalent qualifications and experience in the specific employment opportunity has been laid off.
‘(II) The term ‘laid off’, with respect to an individual, means the individual’s loss of employment other than a discharge for inadequate performance, violation of workplace rules, cause, voluntary departure, voluntary retirement, or the expiration of a grant, contract, or other agreement. The term ‘laid off’ does not include any situation in which the individual involved is offered, as an alternative to such loss of employment, a similar employment opportunity with the same employer at the equivalent or higher compensation and benefits as the position from which the employee was discharged, regardless of whether or not the employee accepts the offer.
‘(III) The term ‘United States worker’ means--
‘(aa) a citizen or national of the United States;
‘(bb) an alien who is lawfully admitted for permanent residence; or
‘(cc) an alien authorized to be employed by this Act or by the Attorney General.’.
(d) PROHIBITION OF USE OF H-1B VISAS BY EMPLOYERS ASSISTING IN INDIA’S NUCLEAR WEAPONS PROGRAM- Section 214(c) is amended--
(1) by redesignating paragraphs (6), (7), and (8) as paragraphs (7), (8), and (9), respectively; and
(2) by inserting after paragraph (5) the following new paragraph:
‘(6) The Attorney General shall not approve a petition under section 101(a)(15)(H)(i)(b) for any employer that has knowledge or reasonable cause to know that the employer is providing material assistance for the development of nuclear weapons in India or any other country.’.
(e) EXPEDITED REVIEWS AND DECISIONS- Section 214(c)(2)(C) (8 U.S.C. 1184(c)(2)(C)) is amended by inserting ‘or section 101(a)(15)(H)(i)(b)’ after ‘section 101(a)(15)(L)’.
(f) DETERMINATIONS ON LABOR CONDITION APPLICATIONS TO BE MADE BY ATTORNEY GENERAL-
(1) IN GENERAL- Section 101(a)(15)(H)(i)(b) (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(H)(i)(b)) is amended by striking ‘with respect to whom’ and all that follows through ‘with the Secretary’ and inserting ‘with respect to whom the Attorney General determines that the intending employer has filed with the Attorney General’.
(2) CONFORMING AMENDMENTS- Section 212(n) (8 U.S.C. 1182(n)(1)) is amended--
(A) in paragraph (1)--
(i) in the first sentence, by striking ‘Secretary of Labor’ and inserting ‘Attorney General’;
(ii) in the sixth and eighth sentences, by inserting ‘of Labor’ after ‘Secretary’ each place it appears;
(iii) in the ninth sentence, by striking ‘Secretary of Labor’ and inserting ‘Attorney General’;
(iv) by amending the tenth sentence to read as follows: ‘Unless the Attorney General finds that the application is incomplete or obviously inaccurate, the Attorney General shall provide the certification described in section 101(a)(15)(H)(i)(b) and adjudicate the nonimmigrant visa petition.’; and
(v) by inserting in full measure margin after subparagraph (D) the following new sentence: ‘Such application shall be filed with the employer’s petition for a nonimmigrant visa for the alien, and the Attorney General shall transmit a copy of such application to the Secretary of Labor.’; and
(B) in the first sentence of paragraph (2)(A), by striking ‘Secretary’ and inserting ‘Secretary of Labor’.
(g) PREVAILING WAGE CONSIDERATIONS- Section 101 (8 U.S.C. 1101) is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:
‘(i)(1) In computing the prevailing wage level for an occupational classification in an area of employment for purposes of section 212(n)(1)(A)(i)(II) and section 212(a)(5)(A) in the case of an employee of--
‘(A) an institution of higher education (as defined in section 1201(a) of the Higher Education Act of 1965), or a related or affiliated nonprofit entity, or
‘(B) a nonprofit or Federal research institute or agency,
the prevailing wage level shall only take into account employees at such institutions, entities, and agencies in the area of employment.
‘(2) With respect to a professional athlete (as defined in section 212(a)(5)(A)(iii)(II)) when the job opportunity is covered by professional sports league rules or regulations, the wage set forth in those rules or regulations shall be considered as not adversely affecting the wages of United States workers similarly employed and be considered the prevailing wage.
‘(3) To determine the prevailing wage, employers may use either government or nongovernment published surveys, including industry, region, or statewide wage surveys, to determine the prevailing wage, which shall be considered correct and valid if the survey was conducted in accordance with generally accepted industry standards and the employer has maintained a copy of the survey information.’.
(h) POSTING REQUIREMENT- Section 212(n)(1)(C)(ii) (8 U.S.C. 1182(n)(1)(C)(ii)) is amended to read as follows:
‘(ii) if there is no such bargaining representative, has provided notice of filing in the occupational classification through such methods as physical posting in a conspicuous location, or electronic posting through an internal job bank, or electronic notification available to employees in the occupational classification.’.
SEC. 6. ANNUAL REPORTS ON H1-B VISAS.
Section 212(n) (8 U.S.C. 1182(n)) is amended by adding at the end the following:
‘(3) Using data from petitions for visas issued under section 101(a)(15)(H)(i)(b), the Attorney General shall annually submit the following reports to Congress:
‘(A) Quarterly reports on the numbers of aliens who were provided nonimmigrant status under section 101(a)(15)(H)(i)(b) during the previous quarter and who were subject to the numerical ceiling for the fiscal year established under section 214(g)(1).
‘(B) Annual reports on the occupations and compensation of aliens provided nonimmigrant status under such section during the previous fiscal year.’.
SEC. 7. STUDY AND REPORT ON HIGH-TECHNOLOGY LABOR MARKET NEEDS.
(a) STUDY- The National Science Foundation shall oversee a study involving the participation of individuals representing a variety of points of view, including representatives from academia, government, business, and other appropriate organizations, to assess the labor market needs for workers with high technology skills during the 10-year period beginning on the date of enactment of this Act. The study shall focus on the following issues:
(1) The future training and education needs of the high-technology sector over that 10-year period, including projected job growth for high-technology issues.
(2) Future training and education needs of United States students to ensure that their skills, at various levels, are matched to the needs of the high technology and information technology sector over that 10-year period.
(3) An analysis of progress made by educators, employers, and government entities to improve the teaching and educational level of American students in the fields of math, science, computer, and engineering since 1998.
(4) An analysis of the number of United States workers currently or projected to work overseas in professional, technical, and managerial capacities.
(5) The following additional issues:
(A) The need by the high-technology sector for foreign workers with specific skills.
(B) The potential benefits gained by the universities, employers, and economy of the United States from the entry of skilled professionals in the fields of science and engineering.
(C) The extent to which globalization has increased since 1998.
(D) The needs of the high-technology sector to localize United States products and services for export purposes in light of the increasing globalization of the United States and world economy.
(E) An examination of the amount and trend of high technology work that is out-sourced from the United States to foreign countries.
(b) REPORT- Not later than October 1, 2000, the National Science Foundation shall submit a report containing the results of the study described in subsection (a) to the Committees on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives and the Senate.
(c) AVAILABILITY OF FUNDS- Funds available to the National Science Foundation shall be made available to carry out this section.
SEC. 8. LIMITATION ON PER COUNTRY CEILING WITH RESPECT TO EMPLOYMENT-BASED IMMIGRANTS.
(a) SPECIAL RULES- Section 202(a) (8 U.S.C. 1152(a)) is amended by adding at the end the following new paragraph:
‘(5) RULES FOR EMPLOYMENT-BASED IMMIGRANTS-
‘(A) EMPLOYMENT-BASED IMMIGRANTS NOT SUBJECT TO PER COUNTRY LIMITATION IF ADDITIONAL VISAS AVAILABLE- If the total number of visas available under paragraph (1), (2), (3), (4), or (5) of section 203(b) for a calendar quarter exceeds the number of qualified immigrants who may otherwise be issued such visas, the visas made available under that paragraph shall be issued without regard to the numerical limitation under paragraph (2) of this subsection during the remainder of the calendar quarter.
‘(B) LIMITING FALL ACROSS FOR CERTAIN COUNTRIES SUBJECT TO SUBSECTION (e)- In the case of a foreign state or dependent area to which subsection (e) applies, if the total number of visas issued under section 203(b) exceeds the maximum number of visas that may be made available to immigrants of the state or area under section 203(b) consistent with subsection (e) (determined without regard to this paragraph), in applying subsection (e) all visas shall be deemed to have been required for the classes of aliens specified in section 203(b).’.
(b) CONFORMING AMENDMENTS-
(1) Section 202(a)(2) (8 U.S.C. 1152(a)(2)) is amended by striking ‘paragraphs (3) and (4)’ and inserting ‘paragraphs (3), (4), and (5)’.
(2) Section 202(e)(3) (8 U.S.C. 1152(e)(3)) is amended by striking ‘the proportion of the visa numbers’ and inserting ‘except as provided in subsection (a)(5), the proportion of the visa numbers’.
(c) ONE-TIME PROTECTION UNDER PER COUNTRY CEILING- Notwithstanding section 214(g)(4) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, any alien who--
(1) as of the date of enactment of this Act is a nonimmigrant described in section 101(a)(15)(H)(i) of that Act;
(2) is the beneficiary of a petition filed under section 204(a) for a preference status under paragraph (1), (2), or (3) of section 203(b); and
(3) would be subject to the per country limitations applicable to immigrants under those paragraphs but for this subsection,
may apply for and the Attorney General may grant an extension of such nonimmigrant status until the alien’s application for adjustment of status has been processed and a decision made thereon.
SEC. 9. ACADEMIC HONORARIA.
Section 212 (8 U.S.C. 1182) is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:
‘(p) Any alien admitted under section 101(a)(15)(B) may accept an honorarium payment and associated incidental expenses for a usual academic activity or activities, as defined by the Attorney General in consultation with the Secretary of Education, if such payment is offered by an institution of higher education (as defined in section 1201(a) of the Higher Education Act of 1965) or other nonprofit entity and is made for services conducted for the benefit of that institution or entity.’.
SEC. 10. SPECIAL IMMIGRANT STATUS FOR CERTAIN NATO CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES.
(a) IN GENERAL- Section 101(a)(27) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(27)) is amended--
(1) by striking ‘or’ at the end of subparagraph (J),
(2) by striking the period at the end of subparagraph (K) and inserting ‘; or’, and
(3) by adding at the end the following new subparagraph:
‘(L) an immigrant who would be described in clause (i), (ii), (iii), or (iv) of subparagraph (I) if any reference in such a clause--
‘(i) to an international organization described in paragraph (15)(G)(i) were treated as a reference to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO);
‘(ii) to a nonimmigrant under paragraph (15)(G)(iv) were treated as a reference to a nonimmigrant classifiable under NATO-6 (as a member of a civilian component accompanying a force entering in accordance with the provisions of the NATO Status-of-Forces Agreement, a member of a civilian component attached to or employed by an Allied Headquarters under the ‘Protocol on the Status of International Military Headquarters’ set up pursuant to the North Atlantic Treaty, or as a dependent); and
‘(iii) to the Immigration Technical Corrections Act of 1988 or to the Immigration and Nationality Technical Corrections Act of 1994 were a reference to the American Competitiveness Act.’.
(b) CONFORMING NONIMMIGRANT STATUS FOR CERTAIN PARENTS OF SPECIAL IMMIGRANT CHILDREN- Section 101(a)(15)(N) of such Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(N)) is amended--
(1) by inserting ‘(or under analogous authority under paragraph (27)(L))’ after ‘(27)(I)(i)’, and
(2) by inserting ‘(or under analogous authority under paragraph (27)(L))’ after ‘(27)(I)’.
SEC. 11. WHISTLEBLOWER PROTECTION.
Section 212(n)(2) (8 U.S.C. 1182(n)(2)), as amended by section 5 of this Act, is further amended--
(1) in subparagraph (C), by inserting ‘, or that the employer has intimidated, discharged, or otherwise retaliated against any person because that person has asserted a right or has cooperated in an investigation under this paragraph’ after ‘a material fact in an application’; and
(2) by adding at the end the following new subparagraph:
‘(F) Any alien admitted to the United States as a nonimmigrant described in section 101(a)(15)(H)(i)(b), who files a complaint pursuant to subparagraph (A) and is otherwise eligible to remain and work in the United States, shall be allowed to seek other employment in the United States for the duration of the alien’s authorized admission, if--
‘(i) the Secretary finds a failure by the employer to meet the conditions described in subparagraph (C), and
‘(ii) the alien notifies the Immigration and Naturalization Service of the name and address of his new employer.’.
SEC. 12. PASSPORTS ISSUED FOR CHILDREN UNDER 16.
(a) IN GENERAL- Section 1 of title IX of the Act of June 15, 1917 (22 U.S.C. 213) is amended--
(1) by striking ‘Before’ and inserting ‘(a) IN GENERAL- Before’, and
(2) by adding at the end the following new subsection:
‘(b) PASSPORTS ISSUED FOR CHILDREN UNDER 16-
‘(1) SIGNATURES REQUIRED- In the case of a child under the age of 16, the written application required as a prerequisite to the issuance of a passport for such child shall be signed by--
‘(A) both parents of the child if the child lives with both parents;
‘(B) the parent of the child having primary custody of the child if the child does not live with both parents; or
‘(C) the surviving parent (or legal guardian) of the child, if 1 or both parents are deceased.
‘(2) WAIVER- The Secretary of State may waive the requirements of paragraph (1)(A) if the Secretary determines that circumstances do not permit obtaining the signatures of both parents.’.
(b) EFFECTIVE DATE- The amendments made by this section shall apply to applications for passports filed on or after the date of the enactment of this Act.
SEC. 13. JOB TRAINING DEMONSTRATION PROGRAMS.
(a) IN GENERAL- Subject to subsection (c), in establishing demonstration programs under section 452(c) of the Job Training Partnership Act (29 U.S.C. 1732(c)), as in effect on the date of enactment of this Act, or a successor Federal law, the Secretary of Labor shall establish demonstration programs to provide technical skills training for workers, including incumbent workers.
(b) GRANTS- Subject to subsection (c), the Secretary of Labor shall award grants to carry out the programs to--
(1) private industry councils established under section 102 of the Job Training Partnership Act (29 U.S.C. 1512), as in effect on the date of enactment of this Act, or successor entities established under a successor Federal law; or
(2) regional consortia of councils or entities described in paragraph (1).
(c) LIMITATION- The Secretary of Labor shall establish programs under subsection (a), including awarding grants to carry out such programs under subsection (b), only with funds made available to carry out such programs under subsection (a) and not with funds made available under the Job Training Partnership Act or a successor Federal law.
Passed the Senate May 18, 1998.