Immigration Reform

03.30.13

And Here Come the Guest Workers

Labor and business are about to agree on a compromise for the guest worker part of immigration reform:

Under the terms of the Senate’s proposal, businesses would be allowed to hire 20,000 foreign workers for low-skilled jobs in the first year of a new visa program being developed by a bipartisan Senate group — a figure that could rise to 75,000 in 2020, people with knowledge of the proposal said.

Those familiar with the talks said it would take many years before the visa program would approach the annual proposed cap of 200,000 foreign workers.

Meanwhile, construction industries would be severely limited under the plan, allotted no more than one-third of the new visas. Those companies also would be banned from hiring any foreigners for more highly skilled technical jobs such as electricians, said the sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to disclose private talks.

The Chamber and AFL-CIO agreed to a wage scale that would pay foreigners the greater of actual or prevailing wages. That would be based partly on a formula that takes into account actual wages paid by the employer to similarly situated U.S. workers, as well as regional and industry scales.

Because what America really needs is more labor, right?