Tuesday, 31 January 2017

H-1B Reform Bill Introduced in US House of Representatives

A legislation has been introduced in the US House of Representatives which among other things calls for more than doubling the minimum salary of H-1B visa holders to USD 130,000, making it difficult for firms to use the programme to replace American employees with foreign workers, including from India.
The High-Skilled Integrity and Fairness Act of 2017 introduced by California Congressman Zoe Lofgren prioritises market based allocation of visas to those companies willing to pay 200 per cent of a wage calculated by survey, eliminates the category of lowest pay, and raises the salary level at which H-1B dependent employer are exempt from non displacement and recruitment attestation requirements to greater than USD 130,000.
This is more than double of the current H-1B minimum wage of USD 60,000 which was established in 1989 and since then has remained unchanged.

India Economic Survey 2017 LIVE: Arvind Subramanian says economy stable despite cash ban, FCNR
The Economic Survey should be tabled anytime now. CEA Arvind Subramanian will hold a press conference outlining its key takeaways at 1 pm.
There will be plenty of interesting economic concepts that are expected to find a mention in the Economic Survey. For instance, universal basic income is something that might find a mention.
Key takeaways from the President’s speech:
– Focus on urban infrastructure continues with an outlay of Rs 50,000 crore. Metro rail for 4 cities has been sanctioned along with extension of Chennai metro has been approved. Reflects the continuing commitment of the government to upgrade infrastructure, which is vital to efficiency and export competitiveness.
– Various measures to curb black money has been taken which will continue to remain the focus area. This should help achieve the twin objects of widening the tax base as well as lowering tax rates wherever possible.
We’ll keep getting you catchy bytes from the President’s speech.
The tabling of the Economic Survey should take place shortly. The survey, running into hundreds of pages, provides an insight into the government’s thinking on economic issues even as some critics choose to look upon it as nothing more than the CEA’s wish-list, which is rarely acted upon.
Still, for anyone who closely tracks the economy, it offers a treasure trove of data through which to evaluate it.
Other highlights from the President’s speech:
– Sowing area has shown 6 percent improvement in yields during rabi season
– 1.4 lakh villages declared defecation free
– Free gas connections provided to 5 crore households
– ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ Yojana yielding encouraging results
– Rs 6,000 crore announced to boost employment and exports in apparels industry
– 1 crore bank accounts have been opened for young girls
“My government has taken proactive steps to control prices of pulses, to protect farmers’ interest and those of consumer. Eight lakh tonnes of pulses have been procured,” the President says.
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