Stimulus Bill Restricts H-1B Hires for Financial Institutions That Receive TARP Money

On February 17, 2009, President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, otherwise known as the Stimulus Bill.   The final version of the bill includes the Sanders H-1B amendment which severely restricts the ability of financial institutions that received funding under the US Department of Treasury’s 700 billion "Troubled Assets Relief Program" (TARP) to hire employees under the H-1B program.   Any such institution is barred from hiring an H-1B employee for two years from the date of enactment of the Act unless the institution can attest that is has been unsuccessful in good faith attempts to recruit US workers and that the H-1B employee has not or will not displace a U.S. worker for a certain period of time.  The American Immigration Lawyers Association noted "The misguided signal [the amendment] sends is that immigrants are part of the problem rather than an integral part of the solution.   The stimulus bill looks helpful but is counterproductive when it restricts the financial industry’s access to top-flight global talent who can help create jobs for U.S. workers.  In many ways this decision is at odds with President Obama’s call that the stimulus legislation shouldn’t be shaped by ideological factors, but by ‘what works’."

Thankfully, the Kingston and Calvert E-Verify Amendment, which was also proposed, was removed from the final bill.   This measure involved E-Verify, a program in which employers can use an electronic database to confirm an employee’s eligibility to work in the U.S.   The amendment would have made participation in E-Verify mandatory for recipients receiving stimulus funding.  Given the multitude of problems reported with E-Verify and the business costs of participation, this would have posed a greater burden to already overburdened employers.

To view the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, click here.