Congress Using Fast Track Authority To Open The Back Door To Millions of H-1 B Visas For Foreign Workers Replacing American Workers (Trade In Services Agreement) — The Selling Out of The American People By Political Elitist Establishment (PEE) For Corporate Campaign Contributions — Vote The Bastards Out of Office — Videos

Posted on June 13, 2015. Filed under: American History, Articles, Banking, Blogroll, Books, College, Communications, Constitution, Corruption, Culture, Economics, Education, Employment, Faith, Family, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Freedom, Friends, government, government spending, history, Illegal, Immigration, Inflation, Investments, Law, Legal, liberty, Life, Links, media, Monetary Policy, Money, Non-Fiction, People, Philosophy, Photos, Police, Politics, Press, Radio, Radio, Rants, Raves, Strategy, Talk Radio, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Television, Unemployment, Video, War, Wealth, Welfare, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |


The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 484 June 12, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 483 June 11, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 482 June 10, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 481 June 9, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 480 June 8, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 479 June 5, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 478 June 4, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 477 June 3, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 476 June 2, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 475 June 1, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 474 May 29, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 473 May 28, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 472 May 27, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 471 May 26, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 470 May 22, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 469 May 21, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 468 May 20, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 467 May 19, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 466 May 18, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 465 May 15, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 464 May 14, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 463 May 13, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 462 May 8, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 461 May 7, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 460 May 6, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 459 May 4, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 458 May 1, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 457 April 30, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 456: April 29, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 455: April 28, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 454: April 27, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 453: April 24, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 452: April 23, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 451: April 22, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 450: April 21, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 449: April 20, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 448: April 17, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 447: April 16, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 446: April 15, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 445: April 14, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 444: April 13, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 443: April 9, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 442: April 8, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 441: April 6, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 440: April 2, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 439: April 1, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 438: March 31, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 437: March 30, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 436: March 27, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 435: March 26, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 434: March 25, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 433: March 24, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 432: March 23, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 431: March 20, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 430: March 19, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 429: March 18, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 428: March 17, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 427: March 16, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 426: March 6, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 425: March 4, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 424: March 2, 2015

Story 1: Congress Using Fast Track Authority To Open The Back Door To Millions of H-1 B Visas For Foreign Workers Replacing American Workers (Trade In Services Agreement) — The Selling Out of The American People By Political Elitist Establishment (PEE) For Corporate Campaign Contributions — Vote The Bastards Out of Office — Videos



George Carlin on

the American Dream

‘Fast-track’ Trade Bill Derailed in House in Blow to Obama

Democrats Derail Obama’s Trade Deal for Now

The Fall of Cover Garbage

SR in 60: House lawmakers vote to derail Obama’s trade agenda

McConnell Says Pres Obama Has Done An Excellent Job Pushing Trade Deal Jeff Sessions Lou Dobbs

Investor Jim Rogers on why TPP is so secret

No one knows what the TPP is

Wikileaks Releases Part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Text…

WikiLeaks Launches Campaign to Offer $100,000 “Bounty” for Leaked Drafts of Secret TPP Chapters

Belgium: Assange slams EU/US plans revealed in leaked TiSA documents

Mark Levin: Fast Track trade bill massively expands Obama’s executive authority over immigration!

Breaking! TPA Passes House While TAA Fails

Disney Fires Hundreds Of American Tech Workers, Forced To Train Foreign Replacements

Disney Setting Up High Tech Sweatshops In US (TPP Foreshadow)

TPP: The Dirtiest Trade Deal You’ve Never Heard Of

Infowars Blows The Lid Off TPP Agreement

The Truth About Free Trade Agreements | Trans-Pacific Partnership TPP

Free Trade and the Trans-Pacific Partnership

Revolt over TPP: Senate Dems Rebuke Obama by Blocking Debate on Secretive Trade Deal

Cruz Supports Giving Fast Track Authority on Trade to Obama

Sen Ted Cruz Wants to DOUBLE Immigration

Sen. Cruz Amendment to Immigration Legislation to Increase H-1B Visas



Discovered inside the huge tranche of secretive Obamatrade documents released by Wikileaks are key details on how technically any Republican voting for Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) that would fast-track trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal would technically also be voting to massively expand President Obama’s executive authority when it comes to immigration matters.

The mainstream media covered the Wikileaks document dump extensively, but did not mention the immigration chapter contained within it, so Breitbart News took the documents to immigration experts to get their take on it. Nobody has figured how big a deal the documents uncovered by Wikileaks are until now. (See below)

The president’s Trade in Services Act (TiSA) documents, which is one of the three different close-to-completely-negotiated deals that would be fast-tracked making up the president’s trade agreement, show Obamatrade in fact unilaterally alters current U.S. immigration law. TiSA, like TPP or the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) deals, are international trade agreements that President Obama is trying to force through to final approval. The way he can do so is by getting Congress to give him fast-track authority through TPA.

TiSA is even more secretive than TPP. Lawmakers on Capitol Hill can review the text of TPP in a secret, secured room inside the Capitol—and in some cases can bring staffers who have high enough security clearances—but with TiSA, no such draft text is available.

Voting for TPA, of course, would essentially ensure the final passage of each TPP, T-TIP, and TiSA by Congress, since in the history of fast-track any deal that’s ever started on fast-track has been approved.

Roughly 10 pages of this TiSA agreement document leak are specifically about immigration.

“The existence of these ten pages on immigration in the Trade and Services Agreement make it absolutely clear in my mind that the administration is negotiating immigration – and for them to say they are not – they have a lot of explaining to do based on the actual text in this agreement,” Rosemary Jenks, the Director of Government Relations at Numbers USA, told Breitbart News following her review of these documents.

Obama will be able to finalize all three of the Obamatrade deals, without any Congressional input, if Congress grants him fast-track authority by passing TPA. Fast-track lowers the vote thresholds in the Senate and blocks Congress from amending any trade deals—and also, since each of these three deals are pretty much entirely negotiated already, it wouldn’t lead to any more congressional involvement or transparency with each.

The Senate passed the TPA last month, so it is up to the House to put the brakes on Obama’s unilateral power. The House could vote as early as Friday on fast-track, but may head into next week. By all counts, it’s going to be a very tight vote—and may not pass. It remains to be seen what will happen in light of leaks about things like the immigration provisions of TiSA—which deals with 24 separate parties, mostly different nations but also the European Union. It is focused on increasing the free flow of services worldwide—and with that, comes labor. Labor means immigration and guestworkers.

“This Trade and Services Agreement is specifically mentioned in TPA as being covered by fast-track authority, so why would Congress be passing a Trade Promotion Authority Act that covers this agreement, if the U.S. weren’t intended to be a party to this agreement – so at the very least, there should be specific places where the U.S. exempts itself from these provisions and there are not,” explained Jenks.

She emphasized that this is a draft, but at this point “certainly the implication is that the U.S. intends to be a party to all or some of the provisions of this agreement. There is nothing in there that says otherwise, and there is no question in my mind that some of the provisions in this Trade and Services Agreement would require the United States to change its immigration laws.”

In 2003, the Senate unanimously passed a resolution that said no immigration provision should be in trade agreements – and in fact, former Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) voted for this resolution.

The existence of these 10 pages is in clear violation of that earlier unanimous decision, and also in violation of the statements made by the U.S. Trade Representative.

“He has told members of Congress very specifically the U.S. is not negotiating immigration – or at least is not negotiating any immigration provisions that would require us to change our laws. So, unless major changes are made to the Trade and Services Agreement – that is not true,” said Jenks.

There are three examples within the 10 pages of areas where the U.S. would have to alter current immigration law.

First, on page 4 and 5 of the agreement, roughly 40 industries are listed where potentially the U.S. visa processes would have to change to accommodate the requirements within the agreement.

Jenks explained that under the agreement, the terms don’t have an economic needs based test, which currently U.S. law requires for some types of visa applications in order to show there aren’t American workers available to fill positions.

Secondly, on page 7 of the agreement, it suggests, “The period of processing applications may not exceed 30 days.”

Jenks said this is a massive problem for the U.S. because so many visa applications take longer than 30 days.

“We will not be able to meet those requirements without essentially our government becoming a rubber stamp because it very often takes more than 30 days to process a temporary worker visa,” she said.

Jenks also spotted another issue with the application process.

“The fact that there’s a footnote in this agreement that says that face to face interviews are too burdensome … we’re supposed to be doing face to face interviews with applicants for temporary visas,” she added.

“According to the State Department Consular Officer, it’s the in person interviews that really gives the Consular Officer an opportunity to determine – is this person is a criminal, is this person a terrorist … all of those things are more easily determined when you’re sitting face to face with someone and asking those questions.”

The third issue is present on page 4 of the agreement. It only provides an “[X]” where the number of years would be filled in for the entry or temporary stay.

Jenks explained that for example, with L visas under current U.S. immigration law, the time limit is seven years – so if the agreement were to go beyond seven years, it would change current U.S. law.

This wouldn’t be unconstitutional if Obama has fast-track authority under TPA, as Congress would essentially have given him the power to finalize all aspects of the negotiations, including altering immigration law.

“I think this whole thing makes it very clear that this administration is negotiating immigration – intends to make immigration changes if they can get away with it, and I think it’s that much more critical that Congress ensure that the administration does not have the authority to negotiate immigration,” Jenks said.

TiSA: A Secret Trade Agreement That Will Usurp America’s Authority to Make Immigration Policy

By  Daniel Costa and Ron Hira

Proponents of Trade Promotion Authority (aka fast-track trade negotiating authority), which the House of Representatives will likely vote on soon, have made an unequivocal promise that future trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) will explicitly exclude any provisions that would require a change to U.S. immigration law, regulations, policy, or practices. Many members of Congress in both parties have expressed concern that trade agreements might limit America’s ability to set immigration policy. Republican congressmen Paul Ryan and Robert Goodlatte have responded by explicitly assuring members of their party that there will be no immigration provisions in any trade bill.

U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman has stated in an interrogatory with Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and via letter that nothing is being negotiated in the TPP that “would require any modification to U.S. immigration law or policy or any changes to the U.S. visa system.”

Furthermore, just a few weeks ago, the Senate Finance Committee released a statement titled “TPA Drives High-Quality Trade Agreements, Not Immigration Law: The Administration Has No Authority Under TPA or Any Pending Trade Agreement to Unilaterally Change U.S. Immigration Laws,” and the committee’s May 12 report on the Fast Track bill that was eventually passed by the full Senate contained this relevant language:

For many years, Congress has made it abundantly clear that international trade agreements should not change, nor require any change, to U.S. immigration law and practice…

The Committee continues to believe that it is not appropriate to negotiate in a trade agreement any provision that would (1) require changes to U.S. immigration law, regulations, policy, or practice; (2) accord immigration-related benefits to parties to trade agreements; (3) commit the United States to keep unchanged, with respect to nationals of parties to trade agreements, one or more existing provisions of U.S. immigration law, policy, or practice; or (4) expand to additional countries immigration-related commitments already made by the United States in earlier trade agreements.

Congress’ intent could not be any clearer, but there’s strong evidence to doubt that these assurances will be upheld. If you read these statements closely, you’ll see that most of them concern only the TPP and its lack of impact on immigration policy. But the Trade in Services Agreement, or “TiSA”—another trade deal being negotiated in secret by the Obama administration—is another story; there is little doubt that it will constrain the future ability of the United States Congress to regulate U.S. immigration policy. In fact, deregulating the U.S. work visa system, and therefore opening it up to foreign corporations that provide services (as opposed to goods) is the explicit purpose of an entire annex (section) in TiSA, entitled “Movement of Natural Persons.” The text was heretofore secret until Wikileaks published it on its website last week.

It should be noted that much of the text is a proposed draft for negotiation, and within the text, numerous parts of specific provisions are bracketed to denote which countries support or oppose particular sections or language within sections. But the thrust of the text in the annex is clear. For example, Article 4 is about the schedules (i.e., lists) of commitments that countries will have to put together regarding the “Entry and Temporary Stay of Natural Persons,” and a proposed version of Article 4, Section 2 would prohibit member states from “maintain[ing] or adopt[ing] Economic Needs Tests, including labor market tests, as a requirement for a visa or work permit” in the sectors where commitments are made. (In other words, U.S. laws or regulations limiting guestworkers only to jobs where no U.S. workers were available would violate the terms of the treaty.)

Proposed draft Article 5, Section 1 then requires that “Each Party shall take market access and national treatment commitments for intra-corporate transferees, business visitors and categories delinked from commercial presence: contractual service suppliers and independent professionals.” Section 3 gets more specific about the sectors of the economy where member states will have to allow access to intra-corporate transferees, business visitors, contractual service suppliers, and independent professionals:

3. Subject to any terms, limitations, conditions and qualifications that the Party sets out in its Schedule, Parties shall allow entry and temporary stay of [contractual service suppliers and independent professionals3] for a minimum of [X%] of the following sectors/sub-sectors:

Professional services:

  1. Accounting, auditing and bookkeeping services (CPC 862)
  2. Architectural services (CPC 8671)
  3. Engineering services (CPC 8672)
  4. Integrated engineering services (CPC 8673)
  5. Urban planning and landscape architectural services (CPC 8674)
  6. Medical & dental services (CPC 9312)
  7. Veterinary services (CPC 932)
  8. Services provided by midwives, nurses, physiotherapists and paramedical personnel (CPC 93191)

Computer and related services:

  1. Consultancy services related to the installation of computer hardware (CPC 841)
  2. Software implementation services (CPC 842)
  3. Data processing services (CPC 843)
  4. Data base services (CPC 844)
  5. Other (CPC 845+849)

Research and Development services:

  1. R&D services on natural sciences (CPC 851)
  2. R&D services on social sciences and humanities (CPC 852)
  3. Interdisciplinary R&D services (CPC 853)

Other business services

  1. Advertising services (CPC 871)
  2. Market research and public opinion polling services (CPC 864)
  3. Management consulting services (CPC 865)
  4. Services related to management consulting (CPC 866)
  5. Technical testing & analysis services (CPC 8676)
  6. [CH propose: Services incidental to manufacturing]
  7. Related scientific and technical consulting services (CPC 8675)
  8. Maintenance and repair of equipment (not including maritime vessels, aircraft or other transport equipment) (CPC 633 + 8861-8866)
  9. Specialty design services (CPC 87907)

Construction and related engineering services:

  1. General construction work for buildings (CPC 512)
  2. General construction work for civil engineering (CPC 513)
  3. Installation and assembly work (CPC514+516)
  4. Building completion and finishing work (CPC 517)
  5. Other (CPC 511+515+518)

Environmental services:

  1. Sewage services (CPC 9401)
  2. Refuse disposal services (CPC 9402)
  3. Sanitation and similar services (CPC 9403)
  4. Other

[CH propose: Financial Services]

[CH propose: Financial advisors]

Tourism and travel related services:

  1. Hotels and Restaurants (CPC Ex. 641)
  2. Travel Agencies and Tour Operators services (CPC 7471)
  3. Tourist Guides services (CPC 7472)

[CH propose: Transport services

[CH propose: Other services auxiliary to all modes of transport CPC]

Recreational, cultural and sporting services:

38. Sporting and other recreational services (CPC 964)

In the United States, this means the L-1 intra-company transferee, B-1 business visitor visa programs, and any other applicable visa programs could be used to permit temporary employees from abroad to work in the United States, and no economic needs tests (i.e., testing the labor market) could ever be imposed by Congress. To translate, that means that foreign firms would not be required to advertise jobs to U.S. workers, or to hire U.S. workers if they were equally or better qualified for job openings in their own country. (It should be noted that the L-1 is already restricted in this way, as a result of the United States’ commitments under the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs (GATS).) These visa programs are already under-regulated and abused by employers, but since neither the L-1 nor the B-1 visa program is numerically limited by law, this means that potentially hundreds of thousands of workers could enter the United States every year to work in these 38 sectors.

This is worrying and problematic, not because there shouldn’t be any foreign competition from service-providing companies in the United States, but because the competitive advantage foreign companies will get from TiSA is the ability to provide cheaper services by importing much cheaper labor to supplant American workers. They’ll do this by paying their workers the much lower salaries they would earn in their home countries (as they often already do in the L-1 and B-1 visa programs), and the United States might even be prohibited in future from imposing minimum or prevailing wage standards (at present, neither the L-1 or B-1 visa program has a minimum or prevailing wage rule).

There is clear precedent for this. The multilateral GATS agreement, to which the United States is a party, includes limits on the U.S. government’s ability to change the rules on H-1B and L-1 guestworker visas. That’s why when Congress wants to raise visa fees, as they did in 2010, the Indian government cries foul and threatens to formally complain to the World Trade Organization. The U.S.-Chile and U.S.-Singapore trade deals also included new guestworker programs similar to the H-1B and constraints on the U.S. government’s ability to set rules on L-1 intracompany transfers.

The TiSA draft annex on Movement of Natural Persons would also likely restrict the ability of the current and future administrations to continue some of the basic immigration procedures it currently follows, such as requiring an in-person interview with L-1 applicants. The draft treaty might even prohibit common sense legislative proposals that Congress has considered over the past few years, including minimum wage rules for companies seeking to hire guestworkers in the L-1 visa program. This is particularly disturbing since the L-1 visa program has been a primary vehicle to facilitate the offshoring of high wage jobs and for replacing American workers with cheaper guestworkers.

TiSA has been written in secret by and for major corporations that will benefit greatly if it becomes law. If the House of Representatives grants the Obama administration the fast-track trade promotion authority it seeks, the authority will be valid for six years, which means TiSA (like TPP) would also get an up-or-down vote in Congress without any amendments—making it very likely to pass and become law without the necessary democratic deliberations on immigration that such major changes should have. The leaked TiSA text makes it clear that contrary to the claims by proponents of fast-track trade promotion authority, the reality is that those voting for fast track are ceding key powers to make immigration law and policy to an unelected group of corporations and foreign governments.


Roughly 10 pages of this TiSA agreement document leak are specifically about immigration

Revealed: The Secret Immigration Chapter in Obama’s Trade Agreement
Image Credits: Backbone Campaign / Flickr.

Share on Facebook89Tweet about this on Twitter65Share on Google+0Email this to someonePrint this page
Discovered inside the huge tranche of secretive Obamatrade documents released by Wikileaks are key details on how technically any Republican voting for Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) that would fast-track trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal would technically also be voting to massively expand President Obama’s executive authority when it comes to immigration matters.

The mainstream media covered the Wikileaks document dump extensively, but did not mention the immigration chapter contained within it, so Breitbart News took the documents to immigration experts to get their take on it. Nobody has figured how big a deal the documents uncovered by Wikileaks are until now. (See below)

The president’s Trade in Services Act (TiSA) documents, which is one of the three different close-to-completely-negotiated deals that would be fast-tracked making up the president’s trade agreement, show Obamatrade in fact unilaterally alters current U.S. immigration law. TiSA, like TPP or the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) deals, are international trade agreements that President Obama is trying to force through to final approval. The way he can do so is by getting Congress to give him fast-track authority through TPA.
TiSA is even more secretive than TPP. Lawmakers on Capitol Hill can review the text of TPP in a secret, secured room inside the Capitol—and in some cases can bring staffers who have high enough security clearances—but with TiSA, no such draft text is available.

Voting for TPA, of course, would essentially ensure the final passage of each TPP, T-TIP, and TiSA by Congress, since in the history of fast-track any deal that’s ever started on fast-track has been approved.

Roughly 10 pages of this TiSA agreement document leak are specifically about immigration.

The congressional trade debate, explained in 6 factions

By Amber Phillips

Few issues shuffle Washington around into weird alliances like trade policy. President Obama’s two ambitious, legacy-defining trade deals with Pacific Rim countries and Europe are no different.

Obama is trying to get Congress to let him negotiate the deals without lawmakers’ input until the very end, when Congress would get a yes-or-no vote on each deal. It’s known as “fast-track authority.” The Senate approved the president’s power to do that in last month, but the bigger challenge is in the House of Representatives.

It’s a tough sell, but not for the reasons you might think. Broadly speaking, House Republicans are on board; Democrats, not so much.

A major reason for the division is labor unions, which fear trade deals can take manufacturing jobs away from American workers and ship them overseas. Labor unions are also huge supporters of Democrats. So Obama and Republicans are in the odd situation of trying to convince Democrats to reluctantly give the president what he wants.

As they scramble to find the votes ahead of a potential vote on Friday, here are the six factions Congress falls into on trade.

1. The Labor Democrats

Sen.Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is not a fan of Obama’s trade deals. (REUTERS/Joshua Roberts)
Who they are: Pretty much all House and Senate Democrats who don’t want labor unions spending big money against them in their next campaigns. In the House, that’s about two-thirds of the party’s 180 Democrats. Labor unions have become the most vocal group on either side of the trade debate, and they appear to be putting their money where their mouth is. Politico reports labor activists say they’ll run $84,000 in TV ads against a California Democrat who supports the fast-track bill.

On Capitol Hill, Rep. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts lead the charge for this group. On the campaign trail, Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley also oppose the trade deals.

What they believe: That opening up U.S. markets to foreign countries will also open up American workers to lower wages and job losses, particularly while U.S. manufacturing companies take advantage of open borders to move plants overseas for cheaper labor.

There’s some truth to that, economists say. By allowing goods and services to flow more freely across borders, trade deals helps countries specialize in just a few goods and services they’re really good at. That makes economies more efficient but means some workers will inevitably lose out.

But the size of which industries like manufacturing will lose out in these trade deals is debatable, as many such low-wage jobs have already moved overseas.

Key talking point: Warren: The deals are “going to help the rich get richer and leave everyone else behind.”

2. Silicon Valley Democrats

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is among those who support Obama’s trade deals. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Who they are: A relatively small group of about 40 pro-business, moderate Democrats who are allied with Silicon Valley executives. The Washington Post’s David Nakamura notes those executives include the influential Silicon Valley Leadership Group, which represents 390 companies, including Facebook, Google and Microsoft, and is aligned with tech CEOs from Cisco Systems, Oracle and AT&T in lobbying for fast track.

What they believe: That the trade deals — and particularly Obama’s massive 12-nation deal with Pacific Rim countries — protects one of America’s top money-makers: intellectual property. The deals as drafted strengthen patents and extend copyright protections for the things Americans are good at inventing, like pharmaceuticals, movies and technology start-ups.

This argument offers Democrats an alternative to labor unions’ message: Perhaps some manufacturing jobs will indeed ship overseas, but low-wage manufacturing isn’t where America’s economy is headed anyways.

Key talking point: Obama made the best argument for this group recently: “If we are going to capture the future, then we’ve got to open up markets to the kinds of things that we’re really good at, that can’t be duplicated overseas.”

3. On-the-fence Democrats

U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) speaks to the press about the potential for a U.S. government shutdown, alongside House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.), are torn on trade. (REUTERS/Jason Reed )
Who’s in this camp: A handful of Democrats who are torn between supporting their president and the labor unions’ strong pull. These Democrats include House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California and Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland. This group is small but significant; Obama and Republicans need about 25 Democrats to support the fast-track legislation when it comes to a vote, so the president is lobbying these people hard.

What they think: Two competing thoughts here: Let’s give our president what he wants … but I don’t know if that’s worth risking a primary challenge supported by labor unions.

With the vote count coming down to the wire, the AP’s Josh Lederman reports Obama has promised to help campaign in 2016 for anyone in this group who crosses the line and votes yes for fast-track legislation.

Key talking point: “There’s a difference between growing the economy and helping American companies grow the bottom line and creating jobs.” Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.) told The Hill.
4. Gung-ho trade supporters

House Speaker John A. Boehner, left, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are Obama’s biggest advocates on trade. (AP Photo/, Mark Pynes )
Who’s in this camp: Establishment Republicans, including leaders like House Speaker John A. Boehner (Ohio) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), have Obama’s back on fast-track legislation and the two trade bills. In the House, they have the support of about 110 Republicans, according to The Hill’s whip count.

What they believe: Trade deals are job creators, because they allow the United States to require other countries to the same labor and environmental standards that our businesses must follow. That makes a more even global playing field for Americans. And fast-tracking the deals is the only way to get them negotiated; imagine if every country involved allowed its legislative bodies to chime in. Nothing would get done!

Key talking point: “We have a chance here to write the rules on our terms,” said Rep. Paul Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican who is central to crafting the fast-track legislation. “We have a chance here to write the rules on our terms, to raise other countries to our standards, to create more opportunity for our people.”

5. The anti-Obama Republicans

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) has warned about the dangers of giving Obama fast track trade authority. (AP Photo/CBS News, Chris Usher)
Who’s in this camp: Republicans who might support fast-track legislation and the trade deals but who are wary of giving the president so much authority to negotiate them without Congress’s input. This camp encompasses about 50 of Republicans’ Southern and tea party-leaning lawmakers.

What they believe: By voting for fast-track legislation, they’re essentially blocking themselves from the discussion about what should be put in the trade deals.

Key talking point: Here’s one from Alabama Rep. Bradley Byrne’s (R) office: “Congressman Byrne is a strong supporter of free trade, which supports almost 3,000 jobs in the 1st district alone. That said, he believes Congress must have a seat at the table as the trade negotiations continue.”

6. The swing-state Republicans

Rep. Dave Joyce (R-Ohio) is among a small group of swing state House Republicans who are worried about a vote on trade. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
Who’s in this camp: About 12-20 recently elected House Republicans who came into power during midterm Republican waves and now represent swing districts with decisive moderate constituents who might not like Obama’s trade deals. They include Midwestern lawmakers like Ohio’s David Joyce and Long Island’s Rep. Lee Zeldin.

The environmentalist group Sierra Club recently held a rally in Zeldin’s district to convince him to oppose the fast-track legislation.
What they believe: This group usually aligns with the Republican establishment on most issues. But on trade, these lawmakers carry the same concerns as Labor Democrats: A vote for fast track could mean a vote for them out of office.

Key talking point: “I support trade,” Zeldin told Facebook supporters in March. But on the trade deals and fast-track authority, “I will read it and decide at that time whether to vote for it or against it.”

Obama makes last-ditch plea to Dems ahead of showdown vote on trade

President Obama went to Capitol Hill Friday morning to make a final plea to congressional Democrats for his trade agenda, ahead of a showdown vote in the House.

The president met with House Democratic leaders ahead of a caucus meeting. While it is extremely rare for a president to make a visit like this before a big vote, the last-minute lobbying comes after the president also made a surprise appearance at the annual congressional baseball game between Democrats and Republicans the night before. His personal involvement underscores how fragile the effort is — Fox News is told the effort is still short on the votes — and how important he sees it to his second-term legacy.

The night before, a bizarre scene unfolded as the crowd crammed inside Nationals Park lurched into a chant about the legislation.

“TPA! TPA! TPA!” chanted Republican congressional aides seated near the first base dugout when Obama stepped onto the field at the top of the fourth inning.

This wasn’t quite the drunken, Bronx throng at Yankee Stadium cantillating “Reg-GIE! Reg-GIE! Reg-GIE!” after Reggie Jackson swatted three consecutive home runs in Game Six of the 1977 World Series. This was gamesmanship, Washington-style. A game in which most congressional Republicans find themselves backing the Democratic president’s efforts to pass Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), a framework for a big trade deal the administration hopes to advance later this year.

TPA, which would give the president the ability to “fast-track” future trade deals, is one of two bills due up in the House on Friday. And it’s anybody’s guess if the bills will pass. Members of Congress may have been mixing it up on the diamond. But there is just as much gamesmanship underway on Capitol Hill as lawmakers try to leverage passage or defeat of the trade legislation.

More on this…

  • Stage set for vote to give Obama fast-track trade authority

First, the basics.

Most House Republicans want to approve TPA. But they don’t quite have the votes to do it on their own. They need Democratic support. Yet the irony is that even though Obama is pushing the deal, only about 20-plus House Democrats support their own chief executive on this issue.

So various political gambits kick in.

Republicans find it absurd that Obama can’t persuade more than two-dozen Democratic members to support the trade plan. Conversely, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is stunned that House Republicans, boasting a 246-188 majority, can’t excavate at least 200 GOPers to approve the package.

So Pelosi and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, cut a deal. Neither side promised a certain number of votes to the other. But both House leaders forged a plan which could conceivably reward both sides with a political victory and concurrently test their respective abilities to gin up votes.

Pelosi and Boehner engineered a deal to advance the trade framework to the floor – so long as Democrats scored a vote on something called Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA).

TAA is a program near and dear to the hearts of many Democrats. It’s a method to cushion the blow for various workers and industries damaged by business reallocations in trade agreements. So House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., teed up  two votes for Friday: One for TAA and one on TPA. But a TPA vote was contingent on the House first adopting TAA. The procedural maneuver would require Republicans to carry most of the freight to adopt TPA. But to get there, Democrats would be expected to provide the lion’s share of votes for TAA. If the House doesn’t approve TAA, everything comes to a screeching halt and there’s no vote on TPA.

Further complicating matters, Pelosi has spoken openly against the trade accord but has yet to definitively say how she’ll vote.

Capitol Hill is weird. Weird enough to have Republicans serving as Obama’s TPA cheerleaders – both at the ballpark and in the House chamber. It’s even weirder to have House Democrats working against Obama on this. And then there’s Pelosi – stuck in the middle.

On trade, Pelosi is a switch-pitcher. She’s trying to keep the Democratic caucus from embarrassing Obama with a paltry vote total for TPA. Yet she’s working to make sure most of her caucus gets what it wants: a defeat of TPA. At the same time, Pelosi secured a deal for the TAA vote – which could help pass TPA … or blow it up.

Major League Baseball has a rule for ambidextrous pitchers, few as there may be. Such cross-hurlers must first declare whether they intend to pitch left-handed or right-handed to each batter. There’s no such rule on Capitol Hill. That’s why when it comes to trade, Pelosi is chucking political curveballs from both sides of the mound.

But Democrats are working against Pelosi. A senior House GOP leadership source says Republicans can only provide 50 to 70 votes for TAA. Democrats must make up the difference. However, many Democrats now see a means to an end. Some intend to vote no on TAA simply to detonate the entire process and never get the TPA bill to the floor — which they so despise.

The House nearly voted to truncate the entire process before the first pitch, coming close to voting down a procedural vote just to get the measures to the floor.

Some observers interpreted the uneven procedural vote as a harbinger of things to come Friday on the trade bills. Some lawmakers wondered if Obama – fresh off his dugout diplomatic mission — might ring up lawmakers and implore them to vote aye.

One longtime Democratic member doubted that would happen, noting that Obama had already done all of the calling he could do.

There are games here, too. The same lawmaker signaled that some colleagues might not even take the call if the president phones. In fact, they might even keep their phones switched off.

Obama-backed trade bill fails in the House

By David Nakamura and Paul Kane

President Obama suffered a major defeat to his Pacific Rim free trade initiative Friday as House Democrats helped derail a key presidential priority despite his last-minute, personal plea on Capitol Hill.

The House voted 302 to 126 to sink a measure to grant financial aid to displaced workers, fracturing hopes at the White House that Congress would grant Obama fast-track trade authority to complete an accord with 11 other Pacific Rim nations.

“I will be voting to slow down fast-track,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said on the floor moments before the vote, after keeping her intentions private for months. “Today we have an opportunity to slow down. Whatever the deal is with other countries, we want a better deal for American workers.”

The dramatic defeat could sink the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a sweeping free trade and regulatory pact that Obama has called central to his economic agenda at home and his foreign policy strategy in Asia. Obama’s loss came after a months-long lobbying blitz in which the president invested significant personal credibility and political capital.

Republican leaders, who had backed the president’s trade initiative, pleaded with their colleagues to support the deal or risk watching the United States lose economic ground in Asia.

“The world is watching us right now,” Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said before the vote.

Obama had rushed to Capitol Hill on Friday morning to make a last-ditch plea to an emergency meeting of the Democratic caucus. The president urged members to vote with their conscience and “play it straight,” urging them to support the financial package for displaced workers, which Democrats have long supported.

“I don’t think you ever nail anything down around here,” Obama told reporters on his way out of the Capitol. “It’s always moving.”

But anti-trade Democrats pushed hard to block the financial aid plan, knowing that its defeat would also torpedo a companion measure to grant Obama fast-track authority to complete the TPP. That bill was later approved with overwhelming Republican support in what amounted to a symbolic vote because it could not move forward into law without the related worker assistance package.

The legislation is now paralyzed in the House — “stuck in the station,” as Pelosi described in her speech. House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) has decided to give Obama the weekend to try to coax enough Democrats into supporting the worker assistance package by bringing it up for reconsideration next Tuesday.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest insisted that the president’s trade agenda was still alive and vowed that Obama would continue to urge passage of the package in the coming days. He noted that the Senate approved the fast track legislation last month after initially voting to block it.

“To the surprise of very few, another procedural snafu has emerged,” Earnest said in an attempt to play down the outcome.

In a message on Twitter, AFL-CIO President Richard L. Trumka, one of the most vehement opponents of the trade deal, hailed Pelosi as “a champion for workers.”

[The trade deal, explained for people who fall asleep hearing about trade deals]

Obama made an impassioned plea during his visit to Capitol Hill. But he appeared not to have changed many minds among fellow Democrats. After the president departed, two anti-trade Democrats, Louise Slaughter of New York and Gene Green of Texas, came out of the meeting determined to oppose Obama.

“I don’t want this trade bill to go through,” Slaughter, who represents the economically depressed area of Rochester, said of the fast-track bill.

Several members said Obama took no questions and received applause on several occasions when discussing his previous efforts to deliver on Democratic priorities.

Lawmakers said the White House had pushed harder on trade than any legislative issue since the health-care reform effort during his first year. After keeping trade on the back burner, Obama joined forces with business-friendly Republicans after the midterm elections in pursuit of a rare bipartisan deal and launched a fierce effort to win support from his usual Democratic allies over the intense opposition of labor unions.

“The president and his counselors understand that this is a legacy vote for his second term,” Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D-Va.), who supported the fast-track bill, said Thursday. “It’s a philosophical battle, a political battle and an economic battle. The president finds himself in the crossfire with the base.”

The debate among Democrats has at times been raw and personal, and it has exposed old divisions on trade as the party attempts to coalesce around a common agenda ahead of the 2016 campaign to select Obama’s successor. Other Democratic leaders, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), have questioned Obama’s commitment to workers and the middle class, while union officials accused the president of marginalizing them.

“I would ask that you not mischaracterize our positions and views — even in the heat of a legislative battle,” Trumka wrote this week in a letter to the president. “You have repeatedly isolated and marginalized labor and unions.”

White House officials had cast the dispute with labor as a difference of opinion that does not reflect a deeper divide within a party focused on stemming the nation’s growing wealth divide. Obama has framed the 12-nation TPP as a way to lock in rules to ensure U.S. economic primacy in the fast-growing Asian-Pacific region against increasing competition from China. In the president’s view, that would benefit American workers as the world’s economy shifts toward high-tech industries in which the United States maintains an advantage.

A failure on fast-track could lend weight to Chinese claims that the United States does not have staying power in Asia.

The president’s pitch was met with widespread skepticism among Democrats who blame past trade deals for killing jobs and depressing wages for Americans in traditional manufacturing work.

[What Chicago Democrats tell us about Obama’s problems on trade]

On Thursday night, Obama made a surprise visit to the annual Congressional Baseball Game for Charity at Nationals Park to woo Pelosi and other Democrats.

“The president is personally engaged on this,” Wyden said Thursday. “He’s all in.”

Despite the intensive campaign, however, Obama struggled to convince more than a sliver of House Democrats to back his push for the fast-track authority. The legislation would have allowed him to submit the trade pact to Congress for a vote in a specified timetable without lawmakers being able to amend it.

The White House has called such powers crucial to persuading the other 11 nations involved in the TPP negotiations to put their best offers on the table in the final round of talks this summer.

But opponents said they feared that approving the fast-track measure would be akin to ratifying a pact that is still being negotiated and whose terms have been kept largely hidden from public view. (Lawmakers are permitted to read draft sections of the agreement in a classified setting and are prevented from talking about specifics in public.)

On Thursday, White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough and other Obama aides huddled with House Democrats in a bid to alleviate objections.

But at each turn, the administration was met by a determined coalition of opponents, made up of labor unions, environmental groups and progressive Democrats. Led by Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro (D-Conn.), the coalition has been meeting for two years with individual Democrats, and with small groups, to pressure them to oppose a fast-track bill.

Trumka met with the same House Democrats on Thursday soon after the White House officials had departed.

Fast track (trade)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This article is in a list format that may be better presented using prose. You can help by converting this article to prose, if appropriate. Editing help is available. (June 2015)
The fast track negotiating authority for trade agreements is the authority of the President of the United States to negotiate international agreements that Congress can approve or disapprove but cannot amend or filibuster. Also called trade promotion authority (TPA) since 2002, fast track negotiating authority is a temporary and controversial power granted to the President by Congress. The authority was in effect from 1975 to 1994, pursuant to the Trade Act of 1974, and from 2002 to 2007 by the Trade Act of 2002. Although it expired for new agreements on July 1, 2007, it continued to apply to agreements already under negotiation until they were eventually passed into law in 2011. In 2012, the Obama administration began seeking renewal of the authority.

Enactment and history
Congress started the fast track authority in the Trade Act of 1974, § 151–154 (19 U.S.C. § 2191–2194). This authority was set to expire in 1980, but was extended for eight years in 1979.[1] It was renewed in 1988 for five years to accommodate negotiation of the Uruguay Round, conducted within the framework of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT).[2] It was then extended to 16 April 1994,[3][4][5] which is one day after the Uruguay Round concluded in the Marrakech Agreement, transforming the GATT into the World Trade Organization (WTO). Pursuant to that grant of authority, Congress then enacted implementing legislation for the U.S.-Israel Free Trade Area, the U.S.-Canada Free Trade Agreement, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and the Uruguay Round Agreements Act.

In the second half of the 1990s, fast track authority languished due to opposition from House Republicans.[6]

Republican Presidential candidate George W. Bush made fast track part of his campaign platform in 2000.[7] In May 2001, as president he made a speech about the importance of free trade at the annual Council of the Americas in New York, founded by David Rockefeller and other senior U.S. businessmen in 1965. Subsequently, the Council played a role in the implementation and securing of TPA through Congress.[8]

At 3:30 a.m. on July 27, 2002, the House passed the Trade Act of 2002 narrowly by a 215 to 212 vote with 190 Republicans and 27 Democrats making up the majority. The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 64 to 34 on August 1, 2002. The Trade Act of 2002, § 2103–2105 (19 U.S.C. § 3803–3805), extended and conditioned the application of the original procedures.

Under the second period of fast track authority, Congress enacted implementing legislation for the U.S.–Chile Free Trade Agreement, the U.S.–Singapore Free Trade Agreement, the Australia–U.S. Free Trade Agreement, the U.S.–Morocco Free Trade Agreement, the Dominican Republic–Central America Free Trade Agreement, the U.S.–Bahrain Free Trade Agreement, the U.S.–Oman Free Trade Agreement, and the Peru–U.S. Trade Promotion Agreement. The authority expired on July 1, 2007.[9]

In October 2011, the Congress and President Obama enacted into law the Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement, the South Korea–U.S. Free Trade Agreement, and the Panama–U.S. Trade Promotion Agreement using fast track rules, all of which the George W. Bush administration signed before the deadline.[10]

In early 2012, the Obama administration indicated that renewal of the authority is a requirement for the conclusion of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations, which have been undertaken as if the authority were still in effect.[11] In July 2013, Michael Froman, the newly confirmed U.S. Trade Representative, renewed efforts to obtain Congressional reinstatement of “fast track” authority. At nearly the same time, Senator Elizabeth Warren questioned Froman about the prospect of a secretly negotiated, binding international agreement such as TPP that might turn out to supersede U.S. wage, safety, and environmental laws.[12] Other legislators expressed concerns about foreign currency manipulation, food safety laws, state-owned businesses, market access for small businesses, access to pharmaceutical products, and online commerce.[10]

In early 2014, Senator Max Baucus and Congressman Dave Camp introduced the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities Act of 2014,[13] which sought to reauthorize trade promotion authority and establish a number of priorities and requirements for trade agreements.[14] Its sponsors called it a “vital tool” in connection with negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership and trade negotiations with the EU.[13] Critics said the bill could detract from “transparency and accountability”. Sander Levin, who is the ranking Democratic member on the House Ways and Means committee, said he would make an alternative proposal.[15]

If the President transmits a fast track trade agreement to Congress, then the majority leaders of the House and Senate or their designees must introduce the implementing bill submitted by the President on the first day on which their House is in session. (19 U.S.C. § 2191(c)(1).) Senators and Representatives may not amend the President’s bill, either in committee or in the Senate or House. (19 U.S.C. § 2191(d).) The committees to which the bill has been referred have 45 days after its introduction to report the bill, or be automatically discharged, and each House must vote within 15 days after the bill is reported or discharged. (19 U.S.C. § 2191(e)(1).)

In the likely case that the bill is a revenue bill (as tariffs are revenues), the bill must originate in the House (see U.S. Const., art I, sec. 7), and after the Senate received the House-passed bill, the Finance Committee would have another 15 days to report the bill or be discharged, and then the Senate would have another 15 days to pass the bill. (19 U.S.C. § 2191(e)(2).) On the House and Senate floors, each Body can debate the bill for no more than 20 hours, and thus Senators cannot filibuster the bill and it will pass with a simple majority vote. (19 U.S.C. § 2191(f)-(g).) Thus the entire Congressional consideration could take no longer than 90 days.

Negotiating objectives[edit]
According to the Congressional Research Service, Congress categorizes trade negotiating objectives in three ways: overall objectives, principal objectives, and other priorities. The broader goals encapsulate the overall direction trade negotiations take, such as enhancing the United States’ and other countries’ economies. Principal objectives are detailed goals that Congress expects to be integrated into trade agreements, such as “reducing barriers and distortions to trade (e.g., goods, services, agriculture); protecting foreign investment and intellectual property rights; encouraging transparency; establishing fair regulatory practices; combating corruption; ensuring that countries enforce their environmental and labor laws; providing for an effective dispute settlement process; and protecting the U.S. right to enforce its trade remedy laws”. Consulting Congress is also an important objective.[16]

Principal objectives include:

Market access: These negotiating objectives seek to reduce or eliminate barriers that limit market access for U.S. products. “It also calls for the use of sectoral tariff and non-tariff barrier elimination agreements to achieve greater market access.”
Services: Services objectives “require that U.S. negotiator strive to reduce or eliminate barriers to trade in services, including regulations that deny nondiscriminatory treatment to U.S. services and inhibit the right of establishment (through foreign investment) to U.S. service providers.”
Agriculture: There are three negotiating objectives regarding agriculture. One lays out in greater detail what U.S. negotiators should achieve in negotiating robust trade rules on sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures. The second calls for trade negotiators to ensure transparency in how tariff-rate quotas are administered that may impede market access opportunities. The third seeks to eliminate and prevent the improper use of a country’s system to protect or recognize geographical indications (GI). These are trademark-like terms used to protect the quality and reputation of distinctive agricultural products, wines and spirits produced in a particular region of a country. This new objective is intended to counter in large part the European Union’s efforts to include GI protection in its bilateral trade agreements for the names of its products that U.S. and other country exporters argue are generic in nature or commonly used across borders, such as parma ham or Parmesan cheese.”

Investment/Investor rights: “The overall negotiating objectives on foreign investment are designed “to reduce or eliminate artificial or trade distorting barriers to foreign investment, while ensuring that foreign investors in the United States are not accorded greater substantive rights with respect to investment protections than domestic investors in the United States, and to secure for investors important rights comparable to those that would be available under the United States legal principles and practices.”[17]

Fast track agreements were enacted as “congressional-executive agreements” (CEAs), which must be approved by a simple majority in both chambers of Congress.

Although Congress cannot explicitly transfer its powers to the executive branch, the 1974 trade promotion authority had the effect of delegating power to the executive, minimizing consideration of the public interest, and limiting the legislature’s influence over the bill to an up or down vote:[18]

It allowed the executive branch to select countries for, set the substance of, negotiate and then sign trade agreements without prior congressional approval.

It allowed the executive branch to negotiate trade agreements covering more than just tariffs and quotas.
It established a committee system, comprising 700 industry representatives appointed by the president, to serve as advisors to the negotiations. Throughout trade talks, these individuals had access to confidential negotiating documents. Most members of Congress and the public had no such access, and there were no committees for consumer, health, environmental or other public interests.
It empowered the executive branch to author an agreement’s implementing legislation without Congressional input.

It required the executive branch to notify Congress 90 days before signing and entering into an agreement, but allowed unlimited time for the implementing legislation to be submitted.
It forced a floor vote on the agreement and its implementing legislation in both chambers of Congress; the matters could not “die in committee.”

It eliminated several floor procedures, including Senate unanimous consent, normal debate and cloture rules, and the ability to amend the legislation.

It prevented filibuster by limiting debate to 20 hours in each chamber.
It elevated the Special Trade Representative (STR) to the cabinet level, and required the Executive Office to house the agency.

The 1979 version of the authority changed the name of the STR to the U.S. Trade Representative.[18]

The 2002 version of the authority created an additional requirement for 90-day notice to Congress before negotiations could begin.[18]

Arguments in favor[edit]
Helps pass trade agreements: According to AT&T Chairman and CEO Randall L. Stephenson, Trade Promotion Authority is “critical to completing new trade agreements that have the potential to unleash U.S. economic growth and investment”. Jason Furman, chairman of Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, also said “the United States might become less competitive globally if it disengaged from seeking further trade openings: ‘If you’re not in an agreement—that trade will be diverted from us to someone else—we will lose out to another country'”.[19]

Congress is allowed more say and members are shielded: According to I.M. Destler of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, fast track “has effectively bridged the division of power between the two branches. It gives executive branch (USTR) negotiators needed credibility to conclude trade agreements by assuring other nations’ representatives that Congress won’t rework them; it guarantees a major Congressional role in trade policy while reducing members’ vulnerability to special interests”.[20]
Assurance for foreign governments: According to President Reagan’s Attorney General Edwin Meese III, “it is extremely difficult for any U.S. President to negotiate significant trade deals if he cannot assure other nations that Congress will refrain from adding numerous amendments and conditions that must then be taken back to the negotiating table”. The very nature of Trade Promotion Authority requires Congress to vote on the agreements before they can take effect, meaning that without TPA, “those agreements might never even be negotiated”.[21]

Arguments against
Unconstitutional: Groups opposed to Trade Promotion Authority claim that it places too much power in the executive branch, “allowing the president to unilaterally select partner countries for ‘trade’ pacts, decide the agreements’ contents, and then negotiate and sign the agreements—all before Congress has a vote on the matter. Normal congressional committee processes are forbidden, meaning that the executive branch is empowered to write lengthy legislation on its own with no review or amendments.”[22]

Lack of transparency: Democratic members of Congress and general right-to-know internet groups are among those opposed to trade fast track on grounds of a lack of transparency. Such Congressmen have complained that fast track forces “members to jump over hurdles to see negotiation texts and blocks staffer involvement. In 2012, Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) complained that corporate lobbyists were given easy access while his office was being stymied, and even introduced protest legislation requiring more congressional input.”[23]

Renewed Interest
As recently as May 21, 2015, the United States Senate has utilized the fast-track process to move a trade bill between the U.S. as well as Japan and 10 other countries. Although the bill has yet to move to the House, the renewed interest in this tract is intriguing given the 2016 election cycle beginning to pick up. [24]

Trade Adjustment Assistance

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) is a federal program of the United States government to act as a way to reduce the damaging impact of imports felt by certain sectors of the U.S. economy. The current structure features four components of Trade Adjustment Assistance: for Workers, Firms, Farmers, and Communities. Each Cabinet level Department was tasked with a different sector of the overall Trade Adjustment Assistance program. The program for workers is the largest, and administered by the U.S. Department of Labor. The program for Farmers is administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Firms and Communities programs are administered by the U.S. Department of Commerce.


Trade Adjustment Assistance consists of four programs authorized under the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 and defined further under the Trade Act of 1974 (19 U.S.C. § 2341 et seq) (Trade Act). The original idea for a trade compensation program goes back to 1939.[1] Later, it was proposed by President John F. Kennedyas part of the total package to open up free trade. President Kennedy said: “When considerations of national policy make it desirable to avoid higher tariffs, those injured by that competition should not be required to bear the full brunt of the impact. Rather, the burden of economic adjustment should be borne in part by the Federal Government.”[2]


TAA for workers

Supporters argue that free trade offers widespread benefits among consumers, workers and firms in the U.S. in terms of lower prices, higher efficiency and quality, and more jobs. They claim that gains from negotiated trade deals are large and widely distributed across sectors. For example, in 2011 there were 9.7 million jobs supported by exports, nearly 15% more than in 2010.[3] Benefits from free trade agreements (FTA) with Chile, Singapore, Australia, Morocco, and South Korea for the U.S. economy are estimated in $4 billion, $17 billion, $19 billion, $6 billion and $30 billion, respectively.[4]

In order to achieve trade benefits, however, the U.S. economy must reallocate production factors between sectors. Thus, free trade also leads to costs associated with workers displaced by import competition and offshore outsourcing. According to the Department of Labor (DOL), displaced workers are defined as “persons 20 years of age and older who lost or left jobs because their plant or company closed or moved, there was insufficient work for them to do, or their position or shift was abolished”.[5] The International Labour Organization (ILO) states that workers bore high adjustment costs such as unemployment, lower wage during transition, obsolescence of skills, training costs, and personal costs (e.g. mental suffering). These trade costs, albeit relatively smaller than the benefits, are highly concentrated by region, industry and worker demographics. For instance, some occupations, like teacher, have not experienced import competition while for shoe manufacturing occupations import competition has increased by 40 percentage points.[6]

In general, manufacturing workers are most affected by import competition compare to workers in other sectors. Furthermore, while gains from trade require a long time to take full effect, costs are felt rapidly, particularly in less competitive sectors.[7]

There is a strong correlation between import penetration and unemployment. Ebenstein et al. (2009) find that a 1 percentage point increase in import penetration leads to a 0.6 percentage point decrease in manufacturing employment in the U.S. resulting in a reduction of manufacturing jobs of almost 5%.[8] According to a report by the Progressive Policy Institute, between 2007 and 2011, 1.3 million direct and indirect jobs were lost to increasing imports of goods and services.[9]Similarly, Kletzer (2005) estimations suggest that industries facing high import competition account for 40% of manufacturing job losses.[10] The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) estimates that by 2015 the overall U.S. trade deficit will correspond to the loss of additional 214,000 jobs.[11]

Although trade-dislocated workers are not significantly different from workers displaced by other reasons, they present some slight differences. They tend to be older, less educated, more tenured and production-oriented, have higher earnings on the lost job and fewer transferable skills, and the prevalence on women is higher than for other displaced workers. These characteristics are associated with limited labor mobility and reemployment difficulties, especially for workers with obsolete skills who do not receive additional training, no matter the reason of displacement.[12] Furthermore, asymmetric information in absence of good job-search skills and geographic mismatch lead to prolong unemployment.[13] Hence, trade-displaced workers face longer periods to find a new job and have low reemployment rates (63% during the last two decades according to Kletzer, 2005). Reemployment is particularly challenging for older workers. The DOL (2012) reports that in 2012 reemployment rates for workers ages 55 to 64 and 65 years and over were 47 and 24% respectively while the rate for those ages 20 to 54 was about 62%.[5]

Once dislocated workers obtain a new job, they suffer significant wage reductions.[14] About two thirds of dislocated workers have lower wages in the new job and one quarter of displaced workers from manufacturing who find a new full-time job suffer earning losses of 30% or more.[15] The reason is that many workers find jobs in services sector where salaries are lower. Ebenstein et al. (2009) find that displaced workers from manufacturing who find a job in the services sector suffer a wage decline of between 6 and 22%. They conclude that a 1 percentage point increase in occupation-specific import competition is associated with a 0.25 percentage point decline in real wages.[8]

Import competition impacts negatively not only dislocated workers but also their families and communities. Displaced workers fall behind in their mortgage payments and in providing health care to their families. Families must spend down assets to smooth consumption.[16] There is evidence that displaced workers are in worse health after losing a job.[17] According to a Report by the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED), more than 46% of the jobless lack health insurance and 31% of workers without insurance do not see a doctor although sick. If the worker is able to be relocated in other job in other region the whole family is displaced and children are uprooted from their schools, increasing domestic tensions. The phenomenon of displaced workers has a broader impact because it also affects aggregate demand for goods and services and tax collections.[18]

In brief, trade leads to an unequal redistribution of costs and benefits. The adjustment process impacts not only displaced workers but also the whole society and economy. Furthermore, labor reallocation from inefficient to competitive sectors aimed at realizing the benefits of trade can be impeded by several obstacles described above, prolonging the transition period and increasing the adjustment costs. In this framework, several scholars and policy-makers have argued that trade-related adjustment costs merit a policy response.[13] The TAA has persisted for more than five decades showing ample political support.[19] Having an assistance program targeted exclusively at trade-displaced workers enjoyed wide political support among Congressional representatives in the past because the program served to decrease political resistance to and workers’ lobbying efforts against FTAs.[20] As a 2012 Report by the Joint Economic Committee states: “TAA needs to remain an integral part of trade policy because it compensates those harmed by import competition without sacrificing the larger demonstrable benefits of trade.”[21]

Specific Programs

Trade Adjustment Assistance for Workers

The Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration program, Trade Adjustment Assistance for Workers, provides a variety of reemployment services including training and job-searching assistance and benefits to displaced workers who have lost their jobs or suffered a reduction of hours and wages as a result of increased imports or shifts in production outside the United States. The TAA program aims to help program participants obtain new jobs faster, ensuring they retain employment and earn wages comparable to their prior employment. Among the main benefits are: trade readjustment allowances (TRA) in addition to regular unemployment insurance (UI) up to 117 weeks of cash payments for all workers concurrently enrolled only in full-time training (workers must be enrolled in training 8 weeks after certification or 16 weeks after layoff, whichever is later, to receive TRA), and Reemployment Trade Adjustment Assistance (RTAA) or supplementary wages for workers age 50 and over, and earning less than $50,000 per year in reemployment. It provides a wage supplement equal to 50% of the difference between a worker’s reemployment wage and wage at the worker’s certified job with a maximum benefit of $10,000 over a period of up to two years (workers must be reemployed within 26 weeks). The TAA used to include a Health Coverage Tax Credit Program which will definitively expire at the end of 2013 and other tax credits related to health coverage will become available (e.g. Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act). The program promotes retraining since workers receive the TRAs only if they participate in a full-time TAA training (or are under a waiver).[22] The program is administered by the Department of Labor (DOL) in cooperation with the 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

The Secretary of Labor was authorized to implement Trade Readjustment Assistance (TRA) and relocation allowances through cooperating state agencies. TRA are income support payments that were, at that time, paid in addition to an individual’s regular unemployment compensation. The original program had no training or reemployment component. The program was rarely used until 1974, when it was expanded as part of the Trade Act of 1974. The Trade Act of 1974 established the training component of the program. In 1981, the program was sharply curtailed by the Congress at the request of the Reagan Administration.[23] In 2002, the Trade Adjustment Assistance Reform Act (TAARA) expanded the program and it was combined with the trade adjustment program provided under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).[24]

The TAA has recently suffered several amendments. In 2009, the TAA program was expanded by the Trade and Globalization Adjustment Assistance Act (TGAAA) of 2009, which was part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. These benefits were extended through February 2011 by the Omnibus Trade Act of 2010. After that, the program reverted to the pre-expansion provisions under the TAARA of 2002. In October 2011, the Trade Adjustment Assistance Extension Act (TAAEA) of 2011 was signed into law, reinstating most of the benefits included in the TGAAA of 2009. The TAA is authorized through December 31, 2014 but with some modifications. The TAA will operate under its current provisions through December 31, 2013. For the additional year until its expiration on December 31, 2014, the TAA is set to operate under the eligibility and benefit levels established by the TAARA of 2002.[22]

Trade Adjustment Assistance for Firms

The Department of Commerce program, Trade Adjustment Assistance for Firms,[25] provides financial assistance to manufacturers and service firms affected by import competition. Sponsored by the Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA), this cost-sharing federal assistance program helps pay for projects that improve firms’ competitiveness. EDA, through a national network of 11 Trade Adjustment Assistance Centers (TAACs), provides technical assistance on a cost-shared basis to U.S. manufacturing, production, and service firms in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

Trade Adjustment Assistance for Firms provides import impacted companies with professional guidance, business recovery plan development, and cost-sharing for outside consulting services. Eligibility is established along similar lines, with companies showing that there has been a recent decrease in sales and employment, in part due to customers shifting purchases away from the applicant and to imported goods. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 expanded eligibility to service firms as well as the traditional manufacturing companies that had been the sole focus of the program. This expansion for service firms and workers was scheduled to expire on December 31, 2010, and the program would revert to the pre-ARRA structure without a vote to extend the authorization.

Trade Adjustment Assistance for Farmers

Trade Adjustment Assistance for Farmers, created in 2002 by wide-ranging trade legislation (P.L. 107-210, Sec. 141), authorizes the expenditure of up to $90 million per year through FY2007. Under the program, certain agricultural producers can each receive payments of up to $10,000 per year if price declines for their commodity were at least partly caused by imports. To be eligible for such assistance, such producers must be members of certified groups and meet a number of criteria specified by the law. The program is administered by the Department of Agriculture.

Program Eligibility

TAA for workers

Workers must be directly impacted by imports or by a shift in production of their firm to any country with a free trade agreement with the United States or to beneficiary countries under the Andean Trade Preference, the African Growth and Opportunity, or by certain other shifts in production. Employees of upstream suppliers are eligible if the product supplied to the primary firm consists 20% of the production or sales of the secondary workers’ firm, or their employer’s loss of business with the primary firm contributed significantly to the secondary workers’ separation from work.

Employees of downstream producers are eligible if they perform additional, value-added production processes for articles produced by primary firms, and the primary certification was based on an increase in imports or a shift in production to Canada or Mexico.

In order to receive the benefits displaced workers must fill a petition as a group to initiate the investigation to address the reasons of their layoff. Once the DOL finds that trade has contributed notably to the layoff, the group is certified but the individual worker must still apply for benefits at a local One-Stop Career Center.[22]

Under the current law, as modified in 2009, workers in most service jobs (call center operators, for example) are eligible for trade adjustment assistance. In 2004, a group of computer experts displaced by overseas labor tried to apply for trade adjustment assistance but were rejected because computer software was not considered an “article” by the DOL. After a series of scathing decisions by the United States Court of International Trade criticizing the DOL’s approach, the DOL revised its policies in April 2006 to extend trade adjustment assistance to more workers producing digital products such as software code.[26] Nevertheless, the program under the TAARA of 2002 starting on January 1, 2014 does not include trade-displaced workers in services sectors.[22]

TAA for farmers

Farmers and ranchers adversely impacted by trade will be eligible to participate in a new program operated by the Department of Agriculture and are potentially eligible to receive training under TAA. They are not eligible for the Trade Readjustment Allowance.

Program Cost

TAA for workers

There are several components of the overall cost of the program. The principal spending of the program is in reemployment services which are set to the annual funding levels of the Trade Act of 2002: $220 million for state grants (plus administrative allotments equal to 15% of each state’s grant). The TRA income support and RTAA wage insurance program are uncapped entitlements. In FY 2011, the cost of TRA was $234,126,500 and the cost of RTAA was $43,227,212, based on the number of participants of each program in this year (25,689 and 1,133 participants respectively).[27]

Program Effectiveness

TAA for workers

The TAA for workers have demonstrated overall low effectiveness so far which is reflected in the controversy to reauthorize the program before the 112th Congress and the fact that the TAA will be discontinued in 2015.

First, the program is not very effective providing support during the transition because a significant portion of workers does not receive TRA. In FY2011 there were over 196,000 TAA participants and only around 46,000 received TRA.[27] One reason is that the training enrollment deadline of 8/16 weeks seriously limits the ability of workers to enroll in training programs and receive the benefit. Moreover, even for those workers receiving TRA and UI, only a portion of the lost income is replaced.[28] The program provides health insurance coverage but in the past it has not been very effective since participation in TAA was associated with decreased coverage in the period following job loss like a joint report by Mathematica Policy Research and Social Policy Research (SPR) prepared for the DOL evaluating the TAA program under the Trade Act of 2002 shows.[29]

The effectiveness of the program in terms of fostering reemployment is very low too. Data on post-TAA outcomes for program exiters based on DOL estimations shows that the entered employment rate was 66% in 2011.[22] The Mathematica Policy Research and SPR report finds that the TAA is not effective in terms of increasing employability. There is positive effect on the reemployment rate for participants but it is not statistically different from that for non-participants.[29]

The effectiveness of the program in terms of mitigating earning losses in the new job is very low too as several studies report. Reynolds and Palatucci (2008) estimate that “participating in the TAA program causes a wage loss approximately 10 percentage points greater than if the displaced worker had chosen not to participate in the program.”[20] The report by Mathematica Policy Research and SPR states that TAA was estimated to have no effect on earnings and compared to a sample of UI claimants, TAA participants worked about the same number of weeks but had lower earnings.[29]

Moreover, a 2007 GAO report shows that in FY 2006 only 5% or less of TAA participants received wage insurance. The program is ineffective closing the earning gap because in order to be eligible for wage insurance workers must find a job within 26 weeks after being laid off, which proved to be a very short period.[30]Additionally, the program only replaces half of the losses.

Finally, the implementation of this program overlaps extensively with others such as Workforce Investment Act generating extra costs and duplicating administrative efforts.[13] The process to allocate training funds is also problematic. States receive funds at the beginning of the fiscal year but it does not properly reflect the state´s demand for training services. In addition, states do not receive funds for case management and lack flexibility to use the funds for training. Thus, states face challenges in providing services to workers properly.[30]

Policy Alternatives

TAA for workers

Over last years, the TAA program has been subject to diverse critics due to its flawed performance and extremely high cost. The TAA was only extended to the end of 2014 and the last reauthorization process before the 112th Congress exposed a lack of consensus about the program.[19] Several scholars from different institutions have proposed policy alternatives.

Integrated Adjustment Assistance Program

The Financial Services Forum, through its 2008 white paper “Succeeding in the Global Economy: An Adjustment Assistance Program for American Workers,” proposes to combine the UI and TAA programs into a single integrated program for all displaced workers who qualify for UI no matter the reason of displacement[31]The program includes: wage insurance, portability of health insurance (under the current program COBRA), and reemployment services such as assistance with geographic relocation and retraining. The wage insurance would cushion the cost of lower wages in the new job for workers age 45 and older. The program replaces 50% of workers’ lost wages for up to two years, for up to $10,000 per year, for workers that hold the previous job for at least two years. Regarding retraining, workers would be able to deduct from their gross income, for tax purposes, the full cost of education and training expenses, and there will be no limitations in terms of area of training.

The estimated annual cost of the program is $22 billion. The Financial Services Forum proposes to replace the current tax system with a flat 1.2% tax on all earning at the state level, and a flat rate of 0.12% on all earnings at the federal level to pay for the program.

Wage Insurance and Subsidies for Medical Insurance Program

Scholars at the Brookings Institution and the Institute for International Economics proposed a twofold program including a wage insurance and subsidy for medical insurance in addition to the UI program for eligible workers.[32] On the one hand, the program covers workers displaced by any reason, not just trade, who suffer an earning loss after reemployment. Displaced workers defined as “workers displaced due to plant closing or relocation, elimination of position or shift, and insufficient work”.[33]

It would replace a portion between 30% and 70% of the difference between earnings on the old and new job. In order to be eligible, workers must have been employed full-time at their previous job for at least two years, and suffered a wage decrease that can be documented. The insurance would be paid only after workers found a new job and they will receive it for up to two years from the original date of job loss. Annual payments would be capped at $10,000 or $20,000 per year. The payments would be administered through state UI.[32]

In addition, the program would also offer a health insurance subsidy for all full-time displaced workers, for up to 6 months, or until they found a new job (whichever is earlier). Workers would be limited to receiving the subsidy no more frequently than once during a certain period, probably 3 or 4 years, in order to prevent job churning.[32]

Kletzer and Litan (2001) estimate that about 20% of displaced workers reemployed full-time would have had at least 2 years’ tenure on their previous job and suffered a wage loss in the new one. The program would cost from $2 to $5 billion per year. This cost is estimated with a national unemployment rate between 4.2% and 4.9%.[32] In 2012, the average national unemployment rate was 8.9%.[33] Consequently, the projected cost would be higher if the program would be implemented today.

Trans-Pacific Partnership: Summary of U.S. Objectives
The United States is participating in negotiations of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement with 11 other Asia-Pacific countries (Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam) – a trade agreement that will open markets, set high-standard trade rules, and address 21st-century issues in the global economy.  By doing so, TPP will promote jobs and growth in the United States and across the Asia-Pacific region.

The Obama Administration is pursuing TPP to unlock opportunities for American manufacturers, workers, service providers, farmers, and ranchers – to support job creation and wage growth.  We are working hard to ensure that TPP will be a comprehensive deal, providing new and meaningful market access for goods and services; strong and enforceable labor standards and environmental commitments; groundbreaking new rules designed to ensure fair competition between state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and private companies; commitments that will improve the transparency and consistency of the regulatory environment to make it easier for small- and medium-sized businesses to operate across the region; a robust intellectual property (IP) rights framework to promote innovation, while supporting access to innovative and generic medicines and an open Internet; and obligations that will promote a thriving digital economy, including new rules to ensure the free flow of data.

This document describes the Administration’s goals and objectives for TPP, and presents the main elements of each chapter from the United States’ perspective.  Negotiations toward a TPP Agreement are ongoing, and many of the elements detailed below are not settled.  These are our objectives; there is still work to be done to achieve them.  This document lays out the Administration’s vision, which the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative is advancing, of harnessing trade as a tool for economic growth and supporting jobs, and building opportunity for Americans in the context of an agreement that will benefit all TPP countries.

We are committed to providing the public information on what we are working to achieve through trade negotiations, and we will continue to share this information through the press, social media, and at as we move forward in the TPP negotiations.


The United States ships more than $1.9 billion in goods to TPP countries every day.  In today’s highly competitive global marketplace, even small increases in a product’s cost due to tariffs or non-tariff barriers can mean the difference between success and failure for a business.  That is why the United States is working to negotiate in TPP comprehensive and preferential access across an expansive duty-free trading region for the industrial goods, food and agriculture products, and textiles, which will allow our exporters to develop and expand their participation in the value chains of the fastest-growing economies in the world.

The United States exported more than $622.5 billion of manufactured products to TPP countries in 2013.  With the elimination of TPP countries’ tariffs on manufactured products, including innovative and high technology products, such as industrial and electrical machinery, precision and scientific instruments, and chemicals and plastics, U.S. products will compete on a more level playing field with goods from TPP countries’ other free trade agreement (FTA) partners – including China, India, and the EU.  As just one example, certain U.S. auto parts currently face a 27-percent tariff entering Vietnam.  Other countries that have an FTA with Vietnam, such as China, Thailand, and Indonesia, export their auto parts to Vietnam duty free.  By eliminating duties U.S. auto parts companies face, TPP would help boost their competitiveness in the Vietnamese market.

Twenty percent of U.S. farm income comes from agricultural exports and those exports support rural communities.  In fact, U.S. food and agricultural exports to the world reached an all-time high in 2013 of over $148 billion.  Of that total, we exported more than $58 billion to TPP countries – a figure that would increase as a result of tariff elimination under TPP.  As just one example:  U.S. poultry currently faces a 40-percent tariff in Malaysia.  U.S. poultry would become more affordable in Malaysia under a TPP agreement that reduces these duties to zero.

Specifically, in the TPP we are seeking:

  • Elimination of tariffs and commercially-meaningful market access for U.S. products exported to TPP countries; and
  • Provisions that address longstanding non-tariff barriers, including import licensing requirements and other restrictions.


U.S. textile and apparel manufacturers sold more than $10 billion worth of products to TPP countries in 2013, an increase of 5.4 percent from the previous year.  Many U.S. yarns, fabrics, and apparel currently face tariffs as high as 20 percent upon entering some TPP countries.  Our goal in the TPP negotiations is to remove tariff and non-tariff barriers to textile and apparel exports to enhance the competitiveness of our producers in the Asia-Pacific region.

Specifically, in the TPP we are seeking:

  • Elimination of tariffs on textile and apparel exports to TPP countries;
  • A “yarn forward” rule of origin, which requires that textile and apparel products be made using U.S. or other TPP country yarns and fabrics to qualify for the benefits of the agreement, so as to ensure that non-qualifying textiles and apparel from non-TPP countries do not enjoy the benefits reserved for TPP countries;
  • A carefully crafted “short supply” list, which would allow fabrics, yarns, and fibers that are not commercially available in the United States or other TPP countries to be sourced from non-TPP countries and used in the production of apparel in the TPP region without losing duty preference;
  • Strict enforcement provisions and customs cooperation commitments that will provide for verification of claims of origin or preferential treatment, and denial of preferential treatment or entry for suspect goods if claims cannot be verified; and
  • A textile specific safeguard mechanism that will allow the United States and other TPP countries to re-impose tariffs on certain goods if a surge in imports causes or threatens to cause serious damage to domestic producers.


Services industries account for four out of five U.S. jobs and also represent a significant and growing share of jobs in other TPP countries.  Securing liberalized and fair access to foreign services markets will help U.S. service suppliers, both small and large, seeking to do business in TPP markets, thereby, supporting jobs at home.

Specifically, in the TPP we are seeking:

  • Liberalizing access for services companies so they receive better or equal treatment to service suppliers from TPP countries’ other FTA partners and face a more level playing field in TPP markets;
  • Provisions that would enable service suppliers to supply services without establishing an office in every TPP country;
  • New or enhanced obligations in specific sectors important to promoting trade (e.g., enhanced disciplines for express delivery services will promote regional supply chains and aid  small businesses, which often are highly dependent on express delivery services for integration into supply chains and distribution networks); and
  • Commitments to liberalize foreign financial services and insurance markets while protecting a government’s broad flexibility to regulate, including in the financial sector, and to take the actions necessary to ensure the stability and integrity of a financial system.


With trade following investment, we are working to ensure that U.S. investors abroad are provided the same kind of opportunities in other markets that we provide in the United States to foreign investors doing business within our borders.  That is why we are seeking to include in TPP many of the investment obligations that have historically proven to support jobs and economic growth, as well as new provisions to take on emerging investment issues.

Specifically, in the TPP we are seeking:

  • Liberalized access for investment in TPP markets, non-discrimination and the reduction or elimination of other barriers to the establishment and operation of investments in TPP countries, including prohibitions against unlawful expropriation and specified performance requirements;
  • Provisions that will address measures that require TPP investors to favor another country’s domestic technology in order to benefit SOEs, national champions, or other competitors in that country; and
  • Procedures for arbitration that will provide basic rule of law protections for U.S. investors operating in foreign markets similar to those the U.S. already provides to foreign investors operating in the U.S.  These procedures would provide strong protections to ensure that all TPP governments can appropriately regulate in the public interest, including on health, safety, and environmental protection.  This includes an array of safeguards designed to raise the standards around investor-state dispute settlement, such as by discouraging and dismissing frivolous suits, allowing governments to direct the outcome of arbitral tribunals in certain areas, making proceedings more open and transparent, and providing for the participation of civil society organizations and other non-parties.


Ensuring respect for worker rights is a core value.  That is why in TPP the United States is seeking to build on the strong labor provisions in the most recent U.S. trade agreements by seeking enforceable rules that protect the rights of freedom of association and collective bargaining; discourage trade in goods produced by forced labor, including forced child labor; and establish mechanisms to monitor and address labor concerns.

Specifically, in the TPP we are seeking:

  • Requirements to adhere to fundamental labor rights as recognized by the International Labor Organization, as well as acceptable conditions of work, subject to the same dispute settlement mechanism as other obligations in TPP;
  • Rules that will ensure that TPP countries do not waive or derogate from labor laws in a manner that affects trade or investment, including in free trade zones, and that they take initiatives to discourage trade in goods produced by forced labor;
  • Formation of a consultative mechanism to develop specific steps to address labor concerns when they arise; and
  • Establishment of a means for the public to raise concerns directly with TPP governments if they believe a TPP country is not meeting its labor commitments, and requirements that governments consider and respond to those concerns.


Environmental stewardship is a core value and advancing environmental protection and conservation efforts across the Asia-Pacific region is a key priority for the United States in TPP.  In addition to core environment obligations, we are seeking trailblazing, first-ever conservation proposals to address some of the region’s most urgent environmental challenges.

Specifically, in the TPP we are seeking:

  • Strong and enforceable environment obligations, subject to the same dispute settlement mechanism as other obligations in TPP;
  • Commitments to effectively enforce domestic environmental laws, including laws that implement multilateral environmental agreements, and commitments not to waive or derogate from the protections afforded in environmental laws for the purpose of encouraging trade or investment;
  • New provisions that will address wildlife trafficking, illegal logging, and illegal fishing practices; and
  • Establishment of a means for the public to raise concerns directly with TPP governments if they believe a TPP member is not meeting its environment commitments, and requirements that governments consider and respond to those concerns.


In the past five years, the number of Internet users worldwide has ballooned from 2 to 3 billion and will continue to grow.  The increase in Internet use creates significant economic potential, particularly for small businesses. The Obama Administration is working through TPP to unlock the promise of e-commerce, keep the Internet free and open, promote competitive access for telecommunications suppliers, and set digital trade rules-of-the-road.

Specifically, in the TPP we are seeking:

  • Commitments not to impose customs duties on digital products (e.g., software, music, video, e-books);
  • Non-discriminatory treatment of digital products transmitted electronically and guarantees that these products will not face government-sanctioned discrimination based on the nationality or territory in which the product is produced;
  • Requirements that support a single, global Internet, including ensuring cross-border data flows, consistent with governments’ legitimate interest in regulating for purposes of privacy protection;
  • Rules against localization requirements that force businesses to place computer infrastructure in each market in which they seek to operate, rather than allowing them to offer services from network centers that make business sense;
  • Commitments to provide reasonable network access for telecommunications suppliers through interconnection and access to physical facilities; and
  • Provisions promoting choice of technology and competitive alternatives to address the high cost of international mobile roaming.


U.S. goals on competition policy and SOEs are grounded in long-standing principles of fair competition, consumer protection, and transparency.  The United States is seeking rules to prohibit anticompetitive business conduct, as well as fraudulent and deceptive commercial activities that harm consumers.  We are also pursuing pioneering rules to ensure that private sector businesses and workers are able to compete on fair terms with SOEs, especially when such SOEs receive significant government backing to engage in commercial activity.

Specifically, in the TPP we are seeking:

  • Basic rules for procedural fairness on competition law enforcement;
  • Commitments ensuring SOEs act in accordance with commercial considerations and compete fairly, without undue advantages from the governments that own them, while allowing governments to provide support to SOEs that provide public services domestically; and
  • Rules that will provide transparency with respect to the nature of government control over and support for SOEs.


Small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of the U.S. economy and are key contributors to economic growth in other TPP economies as well.  The United States’ 28 million SMEs account for nearly two-thirds of net new private sector jobs in recent decades.  SMEs that export tend to grow even faster, create more jobs, and pay higher wages than similar businesses that do not trade internationally.  We are seeking through this agreement to provide SMEs the tools they need to compete across TPP markets.  TPP will benefit SMEs by eliminating tariff and non-tariff barriers, streamlining customs procedures, strengthening intellectual property protection, promoting e-commerce, and developing more efficient and transparent regulatory regimes.  In addition, TPP will include a first-ever chapter focusing on issues that create particular challenges for SMEs.

Specifically, in the TPP we are seeking:

  • Commitments to provide access to information on utilizing FTAs – a problem that SMEs have identified as a disproportionate challenge for them; and
  • Establishment of a regular review of how TPP is working for SMEs.


As the world’s most innovative economy, strong and effective protection and enforcement of IP rights is critical to U.S. economic growth and American jobs.  Nearly 40 million American jobs are directly or indirectly attributable to “IP-intensive” industries.  These jobs pay higher wages to their workers, and these industries drive approximately 60 percent of U.S. merchandise exports and a large share of services exports.  In TPP, we are working to advance strong, state-of-the-art, and balanced rules that will protect and promote U.S. exports of IP-intensive products and services throughout the Asia-Pacific region for the benefit of producers and consumers of those goods and services in all TPP countries.  The provisions that the United States is seeking – guided by the careful balance achieved in existing U.S. law – will promote an open, innovative, and technologically-advanced Asia-Pacific region, accelerating invention and creation of new products and industries across TPP countries, while at the same time ensuring outcomes that enable all TPP countries to draw on the full benefits of scientific, technological, and medical innovation, and take part in development and enjoyment of new media, and the arts.

Specifically, in the TPP we are seeking:

  • Strong protections for patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets, including safeguards against cyber theft of trade secrets;
  • Commitments that obligate countries to seek to achieve balance in their copyright systems by means of, among other approaches, limitations or exceptions that allow for the use of copyrighted works for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research;
  • Pharmaceutical IP provisions that promote innovation and the development of new, lifesaving medicines, create opportunities for robust generic drug competition, and ensure affordable access to medicines, taking into account levels of development among the TPP countries and their existing laws and international commitments;
  • New rules that promote transparency and due process with respect to trademarks and  geographical indications;
  • Strong and fair enforcement rules to protect against trademark counterfeiting and copyright piracy, including rules allowing increased penalties in cases where counterfeit or pirated goods threaten consumer health or safety; and
  • Internet service provider “safe harbor” provisions, as well as strong and balanced provisions regarding technological protection measures to foster new business models and legitimate commerce in the digital environment.


Non-tariff trade barriers, such as duplicative testing and unscientific regulations imposed on food and agricultural goods, are among the biggest challenges facing exporters across the Asia-Pacific region.  An effective regulatory program should protect the public interest – for example in health, safety, and environmental protection – and do so in a manner that is no more trade restrictive than necessary to achieve the policy goal.  The United States is therefore seeking in TPP to strengthen rules intended to eliminate unwarranted technical barriers to trade (TBT) and build upon WTO commitments in this area, and to ensure that sanitary and phytosanitary measures (SPS) are developed and implemented in a transparent, science-based manner.

Specifically, in the TPP we are seeking:

  • Commitments to enhance transparency, reduce unnecessary testing and certification costs, and  promote greater openness in standards development;
  • Commitments aimed at adopting common approaches to regulatory matters related to trade in products in key sectors such as wine and distilled spirits, medical devices, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, information and communication technology, and food formulas
  • New and enforceable rules to ensure that science-based SPS measures are developed and implemented in a transparent, predictable, and non-discriminatory manner, while at the same time preserving the ability of U.S. and other TPP regulatory agencies to do what they deem necessary to protect food safety, and plant and animal health; an
  • Establishment of an on-going mechanism for improved dialogue and cooperation on addressing SPS and TBT issues.


Through TPP, we are seeking to make trade across the TPP region more seamless, including by improving the coherence of TPP regulatory systems, enhancing transparency in policy-making processes, and combatting corruption.  These “good government” reforms also play an important role in ensuring fairness for American firms and workers

Specifically, in the TPP we are seeking:

  • Commitments to promote greater transparency, participation, and accountability in the development of regulations and other government decisions, including by promptly publishing laws, regulations, administrative rulings of general application, and other procedures that affect trade and investment, and providing opportunities for stakeholder comment on measures before they are adopted and finalized;
  • For the first time in a U.S. trade agreement, a chapter on regulatory coherence, including commitments on good regulatory practices; and
  • Commitments discouraging corruption and establishing codes of conduct to promote high ethical standards among public officials.


Cutting the red-tape of trade, including by reducing costs and increasing customs efficiencies, will make it cheaper, easier, and faster for businesses to get their products to market.  In TPP, we are looking to facilitate trade across the TPP region; support the deep integration of U.S. logistics, manufacturing, and other industries in regional supply chains; and reduce costs for U.S. business by removing onerous and opaque customs barriers.

Specifically, in the TPP we are seeking:

  • Commitments that will ensure the quick release of goods through customs, expedited procedures for express shipments, advance rulings, and transparent and predictable customs regulations;
  • Strong customs cooperation commitments in order to ensure that TPP countries work together to prevent smuggling, illegal transshipment, and duty evasion, and to guarantee compliance with trade laws and regulations; and
  • Strong and common rules of origin to ensure that the benefits of TPP go to the United States and other TPP countries, and also that TPP promotes the development of supply chains in the region that include companies based in the United States.


Increasing access to government procurement markets in TPP countries, which represent an estimated 5-10 percent of a country’s economy, will unlock significant opportunities for U.S. and other TPP businesses and workers.

Specifically, in the TPP we are seeking:

  • Creation of fair, transparent, predictable, and non-discriminatory rules to govern government procurement in TPP countries; and
  • Commitments to liberalize TPP countries’ government procurement markets, with comparable levels of coverage by all TPP countries, taking into account the particular sensitivities of specific countries.


The United States views development as a way to further strengthen the region and lay the groundwork for future economic opportunities by improving access to economic opportunity for women and low income individuals; incentivizing private-public partnerships in development activities; and designing sustainable models for economic growth.  In addition, the United States sees trade capacity-building as critical to assist TPP developing countries in implementing the agreement and ensuring they can benefit from it.  In TPP, we plan to include a chapter on cooperation and capacity building and, for the first time in any U.S. trade agreement, a chapter dedicated specifically to development.

Specifically, in the TPP we are seeking:

  • Agreement on cooperative development activities TPP countries could conduct to promote broad-based economic growth and sustainable development, including public-private partnerships, science and technology cooperation, and other joint development activities; and
  • Mechanisms for collaboration and facilitation of capacity-building activities by both TPP government and non-government representatives, as well as the private sector, in order to help TPP workers and businesses, including SMEs and micro- enterprises participate in global trade and take advantage of the agreement.


When the United States negotiates a trade agreement, we expect our trading partners to abide by the rules and obligations to which they agree.  Under the TPP, countries will first seek to address an issue cooperatively.  If they are unable to do so, the Parties have recourse to an independent tribunal to determine whether a Party has failed to meet its obligations, and ultimately to allow suspension of benefits if a Party fails to come into compliance.  Through the TPP dispute settlement mechanism, we are seeking to give the American public the confidence that the United States has the means to enforce the strong, high-standard obligations we are negotiating in this agreement.

Specifically, in the TPP we are seeking:

  • Establishment of a fair and transparent dispute settlement mechanism that applies across the agreement; and
  • Procedures to allow us to settle disputes on matters arising under TPP in a timely and effective manner.


With the participation of Japan, TPP countries account for nearly 40 percent of global GDP and about one-third of all world trade.  Japan is currently the fourth-largest goods trading partners of the United States.  The United States exported $65 billion in goods and an estimated $48 billion in services to Japan in 2013.

Nevertheless, U.S. exporters have faced a broad range of formidable non-tariff measures in Japan’s automotive and other markets.  As a result, prior to Japan joining the TPP negotiations, the United States reached a series of agreements with Japan to address a range of issues in conjunction with Japan’s participation in TPP.  This includes an agreement that U.S. tariffs on motor vehicles will be phased out in accordance with the longest staging period in the TPP negotiations and will be back-loaded to the maximum extent.

The United States and Japan also agreed to address non-tariff measures through parallel negotiations to TPP, which were launched in August 2013.

Specifically, in these negotiations with Japan we are seeking:

  • Enforceable commitments related to the automotive sector that will address a broad range of non-tariff measures – including those related to regulatory transparency, standards, certification, financial incentives, and distribution;
  • Establishment of an accelerated dispute settlement procedure that would apply to the automotive sector that includes a mechanism to “snap back” tariffs as a remedy, as well as a special motor vehicle safeguard; and
  • Meaningful outcomes that address cross-cutting and sectoral non-tariff measures, including in the areas of insurance, transparency, investment, IP rights, standards, government procurement, competition policy, express delivery, and SPS.

H-1B visa

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The H-1B is a non-immigrant visa in the United States under the Immigration and Nationality Act, section 101(a)(15)(H). It allows U.S. employers to temporarily employ foreign workers in specialty occupations. If a foreign worker in H-1B status quits or is dismissed from the sponsoring employer, the worker must either apply for and be granted a change of status to another non-immigrant status, find another employer (subject to application for adjustment of status and/or change of visa), or leave the U.S.

The regulations define a “specialty occupation” as requiring theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge in a field of human endeavor[1] including but not limited to biotechnology, chemistry, architecture, engineering, mathematics, physical sciences, social sciences, medicine and health, education, law, accounting, business specialties, theology, and the arts, and requiring the attainment of a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent as a minimum[2] (with the exception of fashion models, who must be “of distinguished merit and ability”).[3] Likewise, the foreign worker must possess at least a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent and state licensure, if required to practice in that field. H-1B work-authorization is strictly limited to employment by the sponsoring employer.

Structure of the program

Duration of stay

The duration of stay is three years, extendable to six years. An exception to maximum length of stay applies in certain circumstances

  • If a visa holder has submitted an I-140 immigrant petition or a labor certification prior to their fifth year anniversary of having the H-1B visa, they are entitled to renew their H-1B visa in one-year or three-year increments until a decision has been rendered on their application for permanent residence.
  • If the visa holder has an approved I-140 immigrant petition, but is unable to initiate the final step of the green card process due to their priority date not being current, they may be entitled to a three-year extension of their H-1B visa. This exception originated with the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act of 2000.[4]
  • The maximum duration of the H-1B visa is ten years for exceptional United States Department of Defense project related work.

H-1B holders who want to continue to work in the U.S. after six years, but who have not obtained permanent residency status, must remain outside of the U.S. for one year before reapplying for another H-1B visa. Despite a limit on length of stay, no requirement exists that the individual remain for any period in the job the visa was originally issued for. This is known as H-1B portability or transfer, provided the new employer sponsors another H-1B visa, which may or may not be subjected to the quota. Under current law, H-1B visa has no stipulated grace period in the event the employer-employee relationship ceases to exist.

Congressional yearly numerical cap and exemptions

The current law limits to 65,000 the number of foreign nationals who may be issued a visa or otherwise provided H-1B status each fiscal year (FY). Laws exempt up to 20,000 foreign nationals holding a master’s or higher degree from U.S. universities from the cap on H-1B visas. In addition, excluded from the ceiling are all H-1B non-immigrants who work at (but not necessarily for) universities, non-profit research facilities associated with universities, and government research facilities.[5]Universities can employ an unlimited number of foreign workers as cap-exempt. This also means that contractors working at but not directly employed by the institutions may be exempt from the cap as well. Free Trade Agreements carve out 1,400 H-1B1 visas for Chilean nationals and 5,400 H-1B1 visas for Singapore nationals. However, if these reserved visas are not used, then they are made available in the next fiscal year to applicants from other countries. Due to these unlimited exemptions and roll-overs, the number of H-1B visas issued each year is significantly more than the 65,000 cap, with 117,828 having been issued in FY2010, 129,552 in FY2011, and 135,991 in FY2012.[6][7]

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services starts accepting applications on the first business day of April for visas that count against the fiscal year starting in October. For instance, H-1B visa applications that count against the FY 2013 cap could be submitted starting from Monday, 2012 April 2. USCIS accepts H-1B visa applications no more than 6 months in advance of the requested start date.[8] Beneficiaries not subject to the annual cap are those who currently holdcap-subject H-1B status or have held cap-subject H-1B status at some point in the past six years.

Tax status of H-1B workers

The taxation of income for H-1B employees depends on whether they are categorized as either non-resident aliens or resident aliens for tax purposes. A non-resident alien for tax purposes is only taxed on income from the United States, while a resident alien for tax purposes is taxed on all income, including income from outside the US.

The classification is determined based on the “substantial presence test“: If the substantial presence test indicates that the H-1B visa holder is a resident, then income taxation is like any other U.S. person and may be filed using Form 1040 and the necessary schedules; otherwise, the visa-holder must file as a non-resident alien using tax form 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ; he or she may claim benefit from tax treaties if they exist between the United States and the visa holder’s country of citizenship.

Persons in their first year in the U.S. may choose to be considered a resident for taxation purposes for the entire year, and must pay taxes on their worldwide income for that year. This “First Year Choice” is described in IRS Publication 519 and can only be made once in a person’s lifetime. A spouse, regardless of visa status, must include a valid Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) or Social Security number (SSN) on a joint tax return with the H-1B holder.

Tax filing rules for H-1B holders may be complex, depending on the individual situation. Besides consulting a professional tax preparer knowledgeable about the rules for foreigners, the IRS Publication 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens, may be consulted. Apart from state and federal taxes, H-1B visa holders pay Medicareand Social Security taxes, and are eligible for Social Security benefits.

H-1B and legal immigration

Even though the H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa, it is one of the few visa categories recognized as dual intent, meaning an H-1B holder can have legal immigration intent (apply for and obtain the green card) while still a holder of the visa. In the past the employment-based green card process used to take only a few years, less than the duration of the H-1B visa itself. However, in recent times the legal employment-based immigration process has backlogged and retrogressed to the extent that it now takes many years for guest-work visa holders from certain countries to obtain green cards. Since the duration of the H-1B visa hasn’t changed, this has meant that many more H-1B visa holders must renew their visas in one or three-year increments for continued legal status while their green card application is in process.

Dependents of H-1B visa holders

H-1B visa holders can bring immediate family members (spouse and children under 21) to the U.S. under the H4 Visa category as dependents. An H4 Visa holder may remain in the U.S. as long as the H-1B visa holder retains legal status. An H4 visa holder is not eligible to work or get a Social Security number (SSN).[9]However, a DHS ruling made on Feb 24, 2015 provides certain H4 visa holders with eligibility to work, starting May 26, 2015.[10] An H4 Visa holder may attend school, get a driver’s license, and open a bank account in the U.S. To claim a dependent on a tax return or file a joint tax return, the dependent must obtain an Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN), which is only used for tax filing purposes.

Administrative processing

When an H-1B worker goes outside of U.S. for vacation, he or she has to get the visa stamped on his passport unless he has already done so for re-entry in the United States. The interview is taken in U.S. Embassy by a visa officer. In some cases, H-1B workers can be required to undergo “administrative processing“, involving extra, lengthy background checks. Under current rules, these checks are supposed to take ten days or less, but in some cases, have lasted years.[11]

Application process

The process of getting a H-1B visa has three stages:

  • The employer files with the United States Department of Labor a Labor Condition Application (LCA) for the employee, making relevant attestations, including attestations about wages (showing that the wage is at least equal to the prevailing wage and wages paid to others in the company in similar positions) and working conditions.
  • With an approved LCA, the employer files a Form I-129 (Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker) requesting H-1B classification for the worker. This must be accompanied by necessary supporting documents and fees.
  • Once the Form I-129 is approved, the worker may begin working with the H-1B classification on or after the indicated start date of the job, if already physically present in the United States in valid status at the time. If the employee is outside the United States, he/she may use the approved Form I-129 and supporting documents to apply for the H-1B visa. With a H-1B visa, the worker may present himself or herself at a United States port of entry seeking admission to the United States, and get an Form I-94 to enter the United States. Employees who started a job on H-1B status without a H-1B visa because they were already in the United States still need to get a H-1B visa if they ever leave and wish to reenter the United States while on H-1B status.

OPT cap-gap extension for STEM students

On April 2, 2008, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Michael Chertoff announced a 17-month extension to the OPT for students in qualifying STEM fields. Also known as the cap-gap, the rule change allows foreign STEM students opportunities unavailable to foreign students of other disciplines. The 17 month work-authorization extension allows the foreign STEM student to work up to 29 months under the student visa, allowing the STEM student multiple years to obtain an H-1B visa.[12][13] To be eligible for the 12-month permit, any degree in any field of studies is valid. For the 17-month OPT extension, a student must have received a Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics degree in one of the following approved majors listed on the USCIS website.[14]

In 2014, a Federal Court denied the government’s motion to dismiss the Washington Alliance of Technology Workers (Washtech) and three other plaintiff’s case against the OPT extension. Judge Huvelle noted that the plaintiffs had standing due to increased competition in their field, that the OPT participation had ballooned from 28,500 in 2008, to 123,000 and that while the students are working under OPT on student visas, employers are not required to pay Social Security and Medicare contributions, nor prevailing wage.[15]

Evolution of the program

Changes to legal and administrative rules

Congress Effect on fees Effect on cap Effect on LCA attestations and
DOL investigative authority
Immigration Act of 1990, November 29, 1990, George H. W. Bush
101st Only a base filing fee Set an annual cap of 65,000 on new 3-year H-1Bs, including transfer applications and extensions of stay. Set up the basic rules for the Labor Condition Application
American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act (ACWIA), October 21, 1998, Bill Clinton
105th Added a $500 fee that would be used to retrain U.S. workers and close the skill gap, in the hope of reducing subsequent need for H-1B visas. Temporary increase in caps to 115,000 for 1999 and 2000[16] Introduced the concept of “H-1B-dependent employer” and required additional attestations about non-displacement of U.S. workers from employers who were H-1B-dependent or had committed a willful misrepresentation in an application in the recent past. Also gave investigative authority to the United States Department of Labor.
American Competitiveness in the 21st Century Act, (AC21), October 17, 2000, Bill Clinton
106th Increased $500 fee for retraining US workers to $1000. Increase in caps to 195,000 for Fiscal Years 2001, 2002, and 2003.
Creation of an uncapped category for non-profit research institutions.
Exemption from the cap for people who had already been cap-subject. This included people on cap-subject H-1Bs who were switching jobs, as well as people applying for a 3-year extension of their current 3-year H-1B.
H-1B Visa Reform Act of 2004, part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2005, December 6, 2004, George W. Bush
108th Increased fee for retraining US workers to $1500 for companies with 26 or more employees, reduced to $750 for small companies.
Added anti-fraud fee of $500
Bachelor’s degree cap returns to 65,000 with added 20,000 visas for applicants with U.S. postgraduate degrees. Additional exemptions for Non-profit research and governmental entities. Expanded the Department of Labor’s investigative authority, but also provided two standard lines of defense to employers (the Good Faith Compliance Defense and the Recognized Industry Standards Defense).
Employ American Workers Act, February 17, 2009, Barack Obama
Part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (sunset on February 17, 2011)
111th No change. No change. All recipients of Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) or Federal Reserve Act Section 13 were required to file the additional attestations required of H-1B-dependent employers, for any employee who had not yet started on a H-1B visa.

Changes in the cap, number of applications received, and numbers of applications approved vs. visas issued

During the early 1990s, the cap was rarely reached. By the mid-1990s, however, the allocation tended fill each year on a first come, first served basis, resulting in frequent denials or delays of H-1Bs because the annual cap had been reached. In 1998, the cap increased to 115,000.

For FY2007, with applications accepted from 2006 April 1, the entire quota of visas for the year was exhausted within a span of 2 months on May 26,[17] well before the beginning of the financial year concerned. The additional 20,000 Advanced Degree H-1B visas were exhausted on July 26.

For FY2008, the entire quota was exhausted before the end of the first day that applications were accepted, April 2.[18] Under USCIS rules, the 123,480 petitions received on April 2 and April 3 that were subject to the cap were pooled, and then 65,000 of these were selected at random for further processing.[19] The additional 20,000 Advanced Degree H-1B visas for FY2008 was exhausted on April 30.

For FY2009, USCIS announced on 2008 April 8, that the entire quota for visas for the year had been reached, for both 20,000 Advanced and the 65,000 quota. USCIS would complete initial data entry for all filing received during 2008 April 1 to April 7, before running the lottery, while 86,300 new visas were approved.[20]

For FY2010, USCIS announced on 2009 December 21, that enough petitions were received to reach that year’s cap.[21]

For FY2011, USCIS announced on 2011 January 27, that enough petitions were received to reach that year’s cap on January 26.

For FY2015, USCIS announced on 2014 April 10 that received about 172,500 H-1B petitions during the filing period which began April 1, including petitions filed for the advanced degree exemption.[22]

For FY2016, USCIS announced on 2015 April 7 that enough petitions were received to reach that year’s cap.[23] On 2015 April 13, USCIS announced completion of the H1B cap lottery selection processes. The USCIS reported receipt of almost 233,000 H1B petitions, well in excess of the limits of 65,000 for the regular cap and 20,000 advanced-degree exemptions (or, “master’s cap”).

Numbers of applications approved

The applications received are evaluated by USCIS, and some subset are approved each year. It is possible for an individual to file multiple applications, for multiple job opportunities with a single employer/sponsor or with multiple employer/sponsors. It is possible for an individual applicant to have multiple applications approved and to be able to choose which one to take.

In its annual report on H-1B visas, released in 2006 November, USCIS stated that it approved 130,497 H-1B visa applications in FY2004 (while 138,965 new visas were issued through consular offices) and 116,927 in FY2005 (while 124,099 new visas were issued via consular offices).[24][25][26][27][28][28][29][30]

In FY2008, a total of 276,252 visa applications (109,335 initial, 166,917 renewals and extensions) were approved, and 130,183 new initial visas were issued through consular offices.

In FY2009, 214,271 visas were approved, with 86,300 being for initial employment, and 127,971 being for continued employment)[31] and 110,988 initial H-1B visas were issued from consular offices.[32]

In FY2010, 192,990 new visas were approved, with 76,627 being for initial employment and 116,363 being for continuing employment. 117,828 new visas were issued through consular offices[33]

In FY2011, 269,653 new visas were approved, with 106,445 being for initial employment and 163,208 being for continued employment. 129,552 new visas were issued through consular offices.[33]

In FY2012, 262,569 new visas were approved with 136,890 being for initial employment and 125,679 being for continued employment.[26][27][28][29][30][33][33][33][34][35]

American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act of 2000[edit]

The American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act of 2000 (AC21) and the U.S. Department of Labor’s PERM system for labor certification erased most of the earlier claimed arguments for H-1Bs as indentured servants during the green card process. With PERM, labor certification processing time is now approximately 9 months (as of Mar 2010).[36]

Because of AC21, the H-1B employee is free to change jobs if they have an I-485 application pending for six months and an approved I-140, and if the position they move to is substantially comparable to their current position. In some cases, if those labor certifications are withdrawn and replaced with PERM applications, processing times improve, but the person also loses their favorable priority date. In those cases, employers’ incentive to attempt to lock in H-1B employees to a job by offering a green card is reduced, because the employer bears the high legal costs and fees associated with labor certification and I-140 processing, but the H-1B employee is still free to change jobs.

However, many people are ineligible to file I-485 at the current time due to the widespread retrogression in priority dates. Thus, they may well still be stuck with their sponsoring employer for many years. There are also many old labor certification cases pending under pre-PERM rules.

Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 2008

The Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 2008, which, among other issues, federalizes immigration in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, stipulates that during a transition period, numerical limitations do not apply to otherwise qualified workers in the H visa category in the CNMI and Guam.[37]

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009

Further information: Employ American Workers Act

On Feb. 17, 2009, President Obama signed into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (“stimulus bill”), Public Law 111-5.[38] Section 1661 of the ARRA incorporates the Employ American Workers Act (EAWA) by Senators Sanders (I-Vt.) and Grassley (R-Iowa) to limit certain banks and other financial institutions from hiring H-1B workers unless they had offered positions to equally or better-qualified U.S. workers, and to prevent banks from hiring H-1B workers in occupations they had laid off U.S. workers from. These restrictions include:

  1. The employer must, prior to filing the H-1B petition, take good-faith steps to recruit U.S. workers for the position for which the H-1B worker is sought, offering a wage at least as high as what the law requires for the H-1B worker. The employer must also attest that, in connection with this recruitment, it has offered the job to any U.S. worker who applies who is equally or better qualified for the position.
  2. The employer must not have laid off, and will not lay off, any U.S. worker in a job essentially equivalent to the H-1B position in the area of intended employment of the H-1B worker within the period beginning 90 days prior to the filing of the H-1B petition and ending 90 days after its filing.[39]

Changes in USCIS policy

After completing a policy review, the USCIS clarified that individuals who spent more than one year outside of U.S. and did not exhaust their entire six-year term can choose to be re-admitted for the “remainder” of initial six-year period without being subject to the H-1B cap.[40]

After completing a policy review, the USCIS clarified that, “Any time spent in H-4 status will not count against the six-year maximum period of admission applicable to H-1B aliens.”[40]

USCIS recently issued a memorandum dated 8 Jan 2010. The memorandum effectively states that there must be a clear “employee employer relationship” between the petitioner (employer) and the beneficiary (prospective visa holder). It simply outlines what the employer must do to be considered in compliance as well as putting forth the documentation requirements to back up the employer’s assertion that a valid relationship exists.

The memorandum gives three clear examples of what is considered a valid “employee employer relationship”:

  • a fashion model
  • a computer software engineer working off-site/on-site
  • a company or a contractor which is working on a co-production product in collaboration with DOD

In the case of the software engineer, the petitioner (employer) must agree to do (some of) the following among others:

  • Supervise the beneficiary on and off-site
  • Maintain such supervision through calls, reports, or visits
  • Have a “right” to control the work on a day-to-day basis if such control is required
  • Provide tools for the job
  • Hire, pay, and have the ability to fire the beneficiary
  • Evaluate work products and perform progress/performance reviews
  • Claim them for tax purposes
  • Provide (some type of) employee benefits
  • Use “proprietary information” to perform work
  • Produce an end product related to the business
  • Have an “ability to” control the manner and means in which the worker accomplishes tasks

It further states that “common law is flexible” in how to weigh these factors. Though this memorandum cites legal cases and provides examples, such a memorandum in itself is not law and future memoranda could change this.

Protections for U.S. workers

Labor Condition Application

Further information: Labor Condition Application

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is responsible for ensuring that foreign workers do not displace or adversely affect wages or working conditions of U.S. workers. For every H-1B petition filed with the USCIS, there must be included a Labor Condition Application (LCA) (not to be confused with the labor certification), certified by the U.S. Department of Labor. The LCA is designed to ensure that the wage offered to the non-immigrant worker meets or exceeds the “prevailing wage” in the area of employment. (“Immigration law has a number of highly technical terms that may not mean the same thing to the average reader.”[41] last updated 2011 March 31, visited 2012 November 5) The LCA also contains an attestation section designed to prevent the program from being used to import foreign workers to break a strike or replace U.S. citizen workers.

While an employer is not required to advertise the position before hiring an H-1B non-immigrant pursuant to the H-1B visa approval, the employer must notify the employee representative about the Labor Condition Application (LCA)—or if there is no such representation, the employer must publish the LCA at the workplace and the employer’s office.[42][43] Under the regulations, LCAs are a matter of public record. Corporations hiring H-1B workers are required to make these records available to any member of the public who requests to look at them. Copies of the relevant records are also available from various web sites, including the Department of Labor.

History of the Labor Condition Application form

The LCA must be filed electronically using Form ETA 9035E.[44] Over the years, the complexity of the form increased from one page in 1997[45] to three pages in 2008,[46] to five pages as of August 2012.[47]

Employer attestations

By signing the LCA, the employer attests that:[48]

  • The employer pays H-1B non-immigrants the same wage level paid to all other individuals with similar experience and qualifications for that specific employment, or the prevailing wage for the occupation in the area of employment, whichever is higher.
  • The employment of H-1B non-immigrants does not adversely affect working conditions of workers similarly employed.
  • On the date the application is signed and submitted, there is not a strike, lockout, or work stoppage in the course of a labor dispute in the occupation in which H-1B non-immigrants will be employed at the place of employment. If such a strike or lockout occurs after this application is submitted, the employer must notify ETA within three days, and the application is not used to support petition filings with INS for H-1B non-immigrants to work in the same occupation at the place of employment until ETA determines the strike or lockout is over.
  • A copy of this application has been, or will be, provided to each H-1B non-immigrant employed pursuant to this application, and, as of the application date, notice of this application has been provided to workers employed in the occupation in which H-1B non-immigrants will be employed:
    • Notice of this filing has been provided to bargaining representative of workers in the occupation in which H-1B non-immigrants will be employed; or
    • There is no such bargaining representative; therefore, a notice of this filing has been posted and was, or will remain, posted for 10 days in at least two conspicuous locations where H-1B non-immigrants will be employed.

The law requires H-1B workers to be paid the higher of the prevailing wage for the same occupation and geographic location, or the same as the employer pays to similarly situated employees. Other factors, such as age and skill were not permitted to be taken into account for the prevailing wage. Congress changed the program in 2004 to require the Department of Labor to provide four skill-based prevailing wage levels for employers to use. This is the only prevailing wage mechanism the law permits that incorporates factors other than occupation and location.

The approval process for these applications are based on employer attestations and documentary evidence submitted. The employer is advised of their liability if they are replacing a U.S. worker.

Limits on employment

According to the USCIS, “H-1B nonimmigrants may only work for the petitioning U.S. employer and only in the H-1B activities described in the petition. The petitioning U.S. employer may place the H-1B worker on the worksite of another employer if all applicable rules (e.g., Department of Labor rules) are followed. Generally, a nonimmigrant employee may work for more than one employer at the same time. However, each employer must follow the process for initially applying for a nonimmigrant employee.”[49]

H-1B fees earmarked for U.S. worker education and training

In 2007, the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (ETA), reported on two programs, the High Growth Training Initiative and Workforce Innovation Regional Economic Development (WIRED), which have received or will receive $284 million and $260 million, respectively, from H-1B training fees to educate and train U.S. workers.[citation needed] According to the Seattle Times $1 billion from H1-B fees have been distributed by the Labor Department to further train the U.S. workforce since 2001.[50]

Criticisms of the program

The H-1B program has been criticized on many grounds. It was the subject of a hearing, “Immigration Reforms Needed to Protect Skilled American Workers,” by theUnited States Senate Committee on the Judiciary on March 17, 2015.[51][52] According to Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, chairman of the committee:

The program was intended to serve employers who could not find the skilled workers they needed in the United States. Most people believe that employers are supposed to recruit Americans before they petition for an H-1B worker. Yet, under the law, most employers are not required to prove to the Department of Labor that they tried to find an American to fill the job first. And, if there is an equally or even better qualified U.S. worker available, the company does not have to offer him or her the job. Over the years the program has become a government-assisted way for employers to bring in cheaper foreign labor, and now it appears these foreign workers take over – rather than complement – the U.S. workforce.[53]

Use for outsourcing

In large part, rather than being used to hire talented workers not available in the American labor market, the program is being used for outsourcing.[54] SenatorsDick Durbin and Charles Grassley of Iowa began introducing “The H-1B and L-1 Visa Fraud & Prevention Act” in 2007. According to Durbin, speaking in 2009, “The H-1B visa program should complement the U.S. workforce, not replace it;” “The…program is plagued with fraud and abuse and is now a vehicle for outsourcing that deprives qualified American workers of their jobs.” The proposed legislation has been opposed by Compete America, a tech industry lobbying group,[55] Outsourcing firms, many based in India, are major users of H-1B visas. The out-sourcing firm contracts with an employer, such as Disney, to perform technical services. Disney then closes down its in-house department and lays off its employees. The outsourcing firm then performs the work.[56]

In June 2015 congressional leaders announced that the Department of Labor had opened an investigation of outsourcing of technical tasks by Southern California Edison to Tata Consultancy Services and Infosys then laying off 500 technology workers.[57]

No labor shortages

Paul Donnelly, in a 2002 article in Computerworld, cited Milton Friedman as stating that the H-1B program acts as a subsidy for corporations.[58] Others holding this view include Dr. Norman Matloff, who testified to the U.S. House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Immigration on the H-1B subject.[59] Matloff’s paper for theUniversity of Michigan Journal of Law Reform claims that there has been no shortage of qualified American citizens to fill American computer-related jobs, and that the data offered as evidence of American corporations needing H-1B visas to address labor shortages was erroneous.[60] The United States General Accounting Office found in a report in 2000 that controls on the H-1B program lacked effectiveness.[61] The GAO report’s recommendations were subsequently implemented.

High-tech companies often cite a tech-worker shortage when asking Congress to raise the annual cap on H-1B visas, and have succeeded in getting various exemptions passed. The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), described the situation as a crisis, and the situation was reported on by the Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek and Washington Post. Employers applied pressure on Congress.[62] Microsoft chairman Bill Gates testified in 2007 on behalf of the expanded visa program on Capitol Hill, “warning of dangers to the U.S. economy if employers can’t import skilled workers to fill job gaps”.[62] Congress considered a bill to address the claims of shortfall[63] but in the end did not revise the program.[64]

According to a study conducted by John Miano and the Center for Immigration Studies, there is no empirical data to support a claim of employee worker shortage.[65] Citing studies from Duke, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Georgetown University and others, critics have also argued that in some years, the number of foreign programmers and engineers imported outnumbered the number of jobs created by the industry.[66] Organizations have also posted hundreds of first hand accounts of H-1B Visa Harm reports directly from individuals negatively impacted by the program, many of whom are willing to speak with the media.[67]

Studies carried out from the 1990s through 2011 by researchers from Columbia U, Computing Research Association (CRA), Duke U, Georgetown U, Harvard U, National Research Council of the NAS, RAND Corporation, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rutgers U, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Stanford U, SUNY Buffalo, UC Davis, UPenn Wharton School, Urban Institute, and U.S. Dept. of Education Office of Education Research & Improvement have reported that the U.S. has been producing sufficient numbers of able and willing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) workers, while several studies from Hal Salzman, B. Lindsay Lowell, Daniel Kuehn, Michael Teitelbaum and others have concluded that the U.S. has been employing only 30% to 50% of its newly degreed able and willing STEM workers to work in STEM fields. A 2012 IEEE announcement of a conference on STEM education funding and job markets stated “only about half of those with under-graduate STEM degrees actually work in the STEM-related fields after college, and after 10 years, only some 8% still do”.[68]

Ron Hira, a professor of public policy at Howard University and a longtime critic of the H-1B visa program, recently called the IT talent shortage “imaginary,”[69] a front for companies that want to hire relatively inexpensive foreign guest workers.

Wage depression

Wage depression is a chronic complaint critics have about the H-1B program: some studies have found that H-1B workers are paid significantly less than U.S. workers.[70][71] It is claimed[72][73][74][75][76][76] that the H-1B program is primarily used as a source of cheap labor. A paper by George J. Borjas for the National Bureau of Economic Research found that “a 10 percent immigration-induced increase in the supply of doctorates lowers the wage of competing workers by about 3 to 4 percent.”[77]

The Labor Condition Application (LCA) included in the H-1B petition is supposed to ensure that H-1B workers are paid the prevailing wage in the labor market, or the employer’s actual average wage (whichever is higher), but evidence exists that some employers do not abide by these provisions and avoid paying the actual prevailing wage despite stiff penalties for abusers.[78]

Theoretically, the LCA process appears to offer protection to both U.S. and H-1B workers. However, according to the U.S. General Accounting Office, enforcement limitations and procedural problems render these protections ineffective.[79] Ultimately, the employer, not the Department of Labor, determines what sources determine the prevailing wage for an offered position, and it may choose among a variety of competing surveys, including its own wage surveys, provided that such surveys follow certain defined rules and regulations.

The law specifically restricts the Department of Labor’s approval process of LCAs to checking for “completeness and obvious inaccuracies”.[80] In FY 2005, only about 800 LCAs were rejected out of over 300,000 submitted. Hire Americans First has posted several hundred first hand accounts of individuals negatively impacted by the program, many of whom are willing to speak with the media.[67]

DOL has split the prevailing wage into four levels, with Level One representing about the 17th percentile of wage average Americans earn. About 80 percent of LCAs are filed at this 17th percentile level[citation needed]. This four-level prevailing wage can be obtained from the DOL website,[81] and is generally far lower than average wages[citation needed].

The “prevailing wage” stipulation is allegedly vague and thus easy to manipulate[citation needed], resulting in employers underpaying visa workers. According to Ron Hira, assistant professor of public policy at the Rochester Institute of Technology, the median wage in 2005 for new H-1B information technology (IT) was just $50,000, which is even lower than starting wages for IT graduates with a B.S. degree. The U.S. government OES office’s data indicates that 90 percent of H-1B IT wages were below the median U.S. wage for the same occupation.[82]

In 2002, the U.S. government began an investigation into Sun Microsystems’ hiring practices after an ex-employee, Guy Santiglia, filed complaints with the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Labor alleging that the Santa Clara firm discriminates against American citizens in favor of foreign workers on H-1B visas. Santiglia accused the company of bias against U.S. citizens when it laid off 3,900 workers in late 2001 and at the same time applied for thousands of visas. In 2002, about 5 percent of Sun’s 39,000 employees had temporary work visas, he said.[83] In 2005, it was decided that Sun violated only minor requirements and that neither of these violations was substantial or willful. Thus, the judge only ordered Sun to change its posting practices.[84]

Risks for employees

Historically, H-1B holders have sometimes been described as indentured servants,[85] and while the comparison is no longer as compelling, it had more validity prior to the passage of American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act of 2000. Although immigration generally requires short- and long-term visitors to disavow any ambition to seek the green card (permanent residency), H-1B visa holders are an important exception, in that the H-1B is legally acknowledged as a possible step towards a green card under what is called the doctrine of dual intent.

H-1B visa holders may be sponsored for their green cards by their employers through an Application for Alien Labor Certification, filed with the U.S. Department of Labor.[citation needed] In the past, the sponsorship process has taken several years, and for much of that time the H-1B visa holder was unable to change jobs without losing their place in line for the green card. This created an element of enforced loyalty to an employer by an H-1B visa holder. Critics[who?] alleged that employers benefit from this enforced loyalty because it reduced the risk that the H-1B employee might leave the job and go work for a competitor, and that it put citizen workers at a disadvantage in the job market, since the employer has less assurance that the citizen will stay at the job for an extended period of time, especially if the work conditions are tough, wages are lower or the work is difficult or complex. It has been argued that this makes the H-1B program extremely attractive to employers, and that labor legislation in this regard has been influenced by corporations seeking and benefiting from such advantages.[citation needed]

Some recent news reports suggest that the recession that started in 2008 will exacerbate the H-1B visa situation, both for supporters of the program and for those who oppose it.[86] The process to obtain the green card has become so long that during these recession years it has not been unusual that sponsoring companies fail and disappear, thus forcing the H-1B employee to find another sponsor, and lose their place in line for the green card. An H-1B employee could be just one month from obtaining their green card, but if the employee is laid off, he or she may have to leave the country, or go to the end of the line and start over the process to get the green card, and wait as much as 10 more years, depending on the nationality and visa category.[87]

The American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act of 2000 provides some relief for people waiting for a long time for a green card, by allowing H-1B extensions past the normal 6 years, as well as by making it easier to change the sponsoring employer.

The Out-Sourcing/Off-Shoring Visa

Further information: Body shopping

In his floor statement on H-1B Visa Reform, Senator Dick Durbin stated “The H-1B job visa lasts for 3 years and can be renewed for 3 years. What happens to those workers after that? Well, they could stay. It is possible. But these new companies have a much better idea for making money. They send the engineers to America to fill spots–and get money to do it—and then after the 3 to 6 years, they bring them back to work for the companies that are competing with American companies. They call it their outsourcing visa. They are sending their talented engineers to learn how Americans do business and then bring them back and compete with those American companies.”[88] Critics of H-1B use for outsourcing have also noted that more H-1B visas are granted to companies headquartered in India than companies headquartered in the United States.[89]

Of all Computer Systems Analysts and programmers on H-1B visas in the U.S., 74 percent were from Asia. This large scale migration of Asian IT professionals to the United States has been cited as a central cause for the quick emergence of the offshore outsourcing industry.[90]

In FY 2009, due to the worldwide recession, applications for H-1B visas by off-shore out-sourcing firms were significantly lower than in previous years,[91] yet 110,367 H-1B visas were issued, and 117,409 were issued in FY2010.

Social Security and Medicare taxes

H-1B employees have to pay Social Security and Medicare taxes as part of their payroll. Like U.S. citizens, they are eligible to receive Social Security benefits even if they leave the United States, provided they have paid Social Security payroll taxes for at least 10 years. Further, the U.S. has bilateral agreements with several countries to ensure that the time paid into the U.S. Social Security system, even if it is less than 10 years, is taken into account in the foreign country’s comparable system and vice versa.[92]

Departure Requirement on Job Loss

If an employer lays off an H-1B worker, the employer is required to pay for the laid-off worker’s transportation outside the United States.

If an H-1B worker is laid off for any reason, the H-1B program technically does not specify a time allowance or grace period to round up one’s affairs irrespective of how long the H-1B worker might have lived in the United States. To round up one’s affairs, filing an application to change to another non-immigrant status may therefore become a necessity.

If an H-1B worker is laid off and attempts to find a new H-1B employer to file a petition for him, the individual is considered out of status if there is even a one-day gap between the last day of employment and the date that the new H-1B petition is filed. While some attorneys claim that there is a grace period of 30 days, 60 days, or sometimes 10 days, that is not true according to the law. In practice, USCIS has accepted H-1B transfer applications even with a gap in employment up to 60 days, but that is by no means guaranteed.

Some of the confusion regarding the alleged grace period arose because there is a 10-day grace period for an H-1B worker to depart the United States at the end of his authorized period of stay (does not apply for laid-off workers). This grace period only applies if the worker works until the H-1B expiration date listed on his I-797 approval notice, or I-94 card. 8 CFR 214.2(h)(13)(i)(A).

American workers are ordered to train their foreign replacements[edit]

There have been cases where employers used the program to replace their American employees with H-1B employees, and in some of those cases, the American employees were even ordered to train their replacements.[93][54][56]

Age discrimination

Age discrimination in the program results in older workers being replaced by H-1B applicants. In FY 2014, 72% of H-1B holders were between the ages of 25 and 34, according to the USCIS “Characteristics of Specialty Occupation Workers (H-1B): Fiscal Year 2014”[94] report for that year, the most recent it has published on its public website. In Table 5 of the same report, only 3,592 of the 315,857 H-1B visas were approved for workers over the age of 50.[94]


The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services “H-1B Benefit Fraud & Compliance Assessment” of September 2008 concluded 21% of H-1B visas granted originate from fraudulent applications or applications with technical violations.[95] Fraud was defined as a willful misrepresentation, falsification, or omission of a material fact. Technical violations, errors, omissions, and failures to comply that are not within the fraud definition were included in the 21% rate. Subsequently, USCIS has made procedural changes to reduce the number of fraud and technical violations on H-1B applications.

In 2009, federal authorities busted a nationwide H-1B Visa Scam.[96]

Fraud has included acquisition of a fake university degree for the prospective H-B1 worker, coaching the worker on lying to consul officials, hiring a worker for which there is no U.S. job, charging the worker money to be hired, benching the worker with no pay, and taking a cut of the worker’s U.S. salary. The workers, although they have little choice in the matter, are also engaged in fraud, and may be charged, fined, and deported.[97]

Similar programs

In addition to H-1B visas, there are a variety of other visa categories that allow foreign workers to come into the U.S. to work for some period of time.

L-1 visas are issued to foreign employees of a corporation. Under recent rules, the foreign worker must have worked for the corporation for at least one year in the preceding three years prior to getting the visa. An L-1B visa is appropriate for non-immigrant workers who are being temporarily transferred to the United States based on their specialized knowledge of the company’s techniques and methodologies. An L-1A visa is for managers or executives who either manage people or an essential function of the company. There is no requirement to pay prevailing wages for the L-1 visa holders. For Canadian residents, a special L visa category is available.

TN-1 visas are part of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and are issued to Canadian and Mexican citizens.[98] TN visas are only available to workers who fall into one of a pre-set list of occupations determined by the NAFTA treaty. There are specific eligibility requirements for the TN Visa.

E-3 visas are issued to citizens of Australia under the Australia free-trade treaty.

H-1B1 visas are a sub-set of H-1B issued to residents of Chile and Singapore under the United States-Chile Free Trade Agreement of 2003; PL108-77 § 402(a)(2)(B), 117 Stat. 909, 940; S1416, HR2738; passed in House 2003-07-24 and the United States-Singapore Free Trade Agreement of 2003; PL108-78 § 402(2), 117 Stat. 948, 970-971; S1417, HR2739; passed in House 2003-07-24, passed in senate 2003-07-31, signed by executive (GWBush) 2003-05-06. According to USCIS, unused H-1B1 visas are added into the next year’s H-1B base quota of 58,200.

One recent trend in work visas is that various countries attempt to get special preference for their nationals as part of treaty negotiations. Another trend is for changes in immigration law to be embedded in large Authorization or Omnibus bills to avoid the controversy that might accompany a separate vote.

H-2B visa: The H-2B non-immigrant program permits employers to hire foreign workers to come to the U.S. and perform temporary nonagricultural work, which may be one-time, seasonal, peak load or intermittent. There is a 66,000 per year limit on the number of foreign workers who may receive H-2B status.

H-1B demographics

H-1B Applications Approved

H-1B Applications Approved by USCIS[24][25][26][27][28][29][30][33][35][99][100]
Year Initial employment approvals Continuing employment approvals Total
1999 134,411 na na
2000 136,787 120,853 257,640
2001 201,079 130,127 331,206
2002 103,584 93,953 197,537
2003 105,314 112,026 217,340
2004 130,497 156,921 287,418
2005 116,927 150,204 267,131
2006 109,614 161,367 270,981
2007 120,031 161,413 281,444
2008 109,335 166,917 276,252
2009 86,300 127,971 214,271
2010 76,627 116,363 192,990
2011 106,445 163,208 269,653
2012 136,890 125,679 262,569
2013 128,291 158,482 286,773
2014 124,326 191,531 315,857
H-1B Applications Approved by USCIS for those with less than the equivalent of a U.S. bachelor’s degree[24][25][26][27][28][29][30][33][35][99][100]
Year No HS Diploma Only HS Diploma Less Than 1 year of College 1+ years of College Equivalent of Associate’s Total Less Than Equivalent of U.S. Bachelor’s
2000 554 288 158 1,290 696 2,986
2001 247 895 284 1,376 1,181 3,983
2002 169 806 189 849 642 2,655
2003 148 822 122 623 534 2,249
2004 123 690 137 421 432 1,803
2005 107 440 77 358 363 1,345
2006 96 392 54 195 177 914
2007 72 374 42 210 215 913
2008 80 174 19 175 195 643
2009 108 190 33 236 262 829
2010 140 201 24 213 161 739
2011 373 500 44 255 170 1,342
2012 108 220 35 259 174 796
2013 68 148 15 162 121 514
2014 32 133 18 133 88 404

H-1B visas issued per year[edit]

new/initial H-1B visas issued by State Department through consular offices<[101]
Year H-1B H-1B1 Total
1990 794 na 794
1991 51,882 na 51,882
1992 44,290 na 44,290
1993 35,818 na 35,818
1994 42,843 na 42,843
1995 51,832 na 51,832
1996 58,327 na 58,327
1997 80,547 na 80,547
1998 91,360 na 91,360
1999 116,513 na 116,513
2000 133,290 na 133,290
2001 161,643 na 161,643
2002 118,352 na 118,352
2003 107,196 na 107,196
2004 138,965 72 139,037
2005 124,099 275 124,374
2006 135,421 440 135,861
2007 154,053 639 154,692
2008 129,464 719 130,183
2009 110,367 621 110,988
2010 117,409 419 117,828
2011 129,134 418 129,552
2012 135,530 461 135,991
2013 153,223 571 153,794

Employers ranked by H-1B visas approved

Companies receiving H-1Bs[102][103][104]
2013 Rank Company Primary Emp. Base 2006 [105] 2007 [106] 2008 [107] 2009 [108] 2010 [109] 2011 [110] 2012 [111] 2013 [112]
1 Infosys
Bangalore, Karnataka, India
India 4,908 4,559 4,559 440 3,792 3,962 5,600 6,298
2 Tata Consultancy Services
Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
India 3,046 797 1,539 1,740 7,469 6,258
3 Cognizant
Teaneck, New Jersey
U.S. 2,226 962 467 233 3,388 4,222 9,281 5,186
4 Accenture Inc
Dublin, Ireland
U.S. 637 331 731 287 506 1,347 4,037 3,346
5 Wipro
Bangalore, Karnataka, India
India 4,002 2,567 2,678 1,964 1,521 2,736 4,304 2,644
6 HCL Technologies Ltd
Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India
India 910 102 1,033 2,070 1,766
Armonk, New York
U.S. 1,324 199 381 865 882 853 1,846 1,624
8 Mahindra Satyam
Hyderabad, Telangana, India
India 2,880 1,396 1,917 219 224 1,963 1,589
9 Larsen & Toubro Infotech
Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
India 947 292 403 602 333 1,204 1,832 1,580
10 Deloitte
New York City, New York
U.S. 1,555 525 413 563 196 1,668 1,491
11 IGATE (merged w Patni)
Bridgewater, NJ & Bengaluru, India
India 1,391 477 296 609 164 1,260 1,157
12 Microsoft
Redmond, Washington
U.S. 3,117 959 1,037 1,318 1,618 947 1,497 1,048
13 Syntel
Troy, Michigan
India 416 130 129 1,161 1,041
14 Qualcomm
San Diego, California
U.S. 533 158 255 320 909
15 Amazon
Seattle, Washington
U.S. 262 81 182 881
16 Intel Corporation
Santa Clara, California
U.S. 828 369 351 723 772
17 Google
Mountain View, California
U.S. 328 248 207 211 172 383 753
18 Mphasis
Bangalore, Karnataka, India
India 751 248 251 229 197 556
19 Capgemini
Paris, France
E.U. 309 99 500
20 Oracle Corporation
Redwood Shores, California
U.S. 1,022 113 168 272 475
21 UST Global
Aliso Viejo, California
U.S. 339 416 344 475
22 PricewaterhouseCoopers
London, United Kingdom
E.U. 591 192 449
23 Cisco Systems
San Jose, California
U.S. 828 324 422 308 379
24 Ernst & Young LLP
London, United Kingdom
UK 774 302 321 481 373
Top 10 universities and schools receiving H-1Bs[102][103][105]
School H-1Bs Received 2006
New York City Public Schools 642
University of Michigan 437
University of Illinois at Chicago 434
University of Pennsylvania 432
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine 432
University of Maryland 404
Columbia University 355
Yale University 316
Harvard University 308
Stanford University 279
Washington University in St. Louis 278
University of Pittsburgh 275

See also

The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts Portfolio

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 480-484

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 473-479

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 464-472

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 455-463

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 447-454

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 439-446

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 431-438

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 422-430

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 414-421

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 408-413

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 400-407

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 391-399

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 383-390

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 376-382

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 369-375

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 360-368

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 354-359

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 346-353

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 338-345

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 328-337

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 319-327

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 307-318

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 296-306

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 287-295

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 277-286

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 264-276

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 250-263

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 236-249

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 222-235

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 211-221

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 202-210

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 194-201

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 184-193

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 174-183

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 165-173

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 158-164

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 151-157

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 143-150

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 135-142

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 131-134

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 124-130

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 121-123

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 118-120

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 113 -117

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 112

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 108-111

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 106-108

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 104-105

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 101-103

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 98-100

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 94-97

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 93

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 92

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 91

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 88-90

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 84-87

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 79-83

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 74-78

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 71-73

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 68-70

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 65-67

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 62-64

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 58-61

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 55-57

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 52-54

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 49-51

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 45-48

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 41-44

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 38-40

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 34-37

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 30-33

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 27-29

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 17-26

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 16-22

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 10-15

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 01-09

Make a Comment

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Liked it here?
Why not try sites on the blogroll...

%d bloggers like this: