But Costa also cites the enforcement issue as a sticking point. How will the Labor Dept. ensure that employers have followed the law? "Will US workers be able to file lawsuits? That's not clear yet," said Costa. "It also has to be enforced in a way that doesn't dictate who an employer should hire, but that also protects U.S. workers from clear discrimination and preference for hiring an H-1B worker."
An intent of the H-1B program is enable employers to quickly hire someone, and 30-day window "will push up the timing of your recruitment," said Jorge Lopez, co-chair of littler Mendelson's Global Mobility and Immigration practice.
Employers applying for a green card are required to advertise for the job and interview qualified U.S. candidates under a good faith process. That green card process is also subject to an audit by the Labor Dept. It is a longer process, but firms seeking to hire an H-1B worker typically want someone quickly, said Lopez.
The proposed rules in the immigration bill are "logistically creating a bottleneck in the system," said Lopez.
Susan Cohen, chairwoman of Mintz Levin's Immigration Practic, said, "The H-1B visa is designed to be as nimble as possible" for filling positions.
Both Cohen and Lopez said the employers they deal with would rather hire U.S. workers because the H-1B process is already complicated, but they do so to fill certain job needs.
In the case where an H-1B worker is making a lateral move from one company to another, the process may be completed in as fast as two weeks. With the 30-day posting period, the hiring could take six weeks, said Cohen.
Patrick Thibodeau covers cloud computing and enterprise applications, outsourcing, government IT policies, data centers and IT workforce issues for Computerworld. Follow Patrick on Twitter at @DCgov or subscribe to Patrick's RSS feed. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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