The National Foundation for American Policy has issued an important report analyzing the interplay between of trade laws and S.887 and S.2804, bills introduced by Senators Grassley and Sanders, which would impose an array of new restrictions on skilled workers. Language from these bills is also being considered for inclusion in the draft language for the comprehensive immigration reform bill. According to the report, provisions in the two bills that appear to violate US commitments under the General Agreement on Trade and Services include
1. changing H-1B wage rules to require employers to pay median average wages (S.887)
2. changing the 90-day nondisplacement rule for H-1Bs to 180 days (S. 887)
3. prohibiting new H-1B or L-1 visas for employers with more than 50% of the US workforce in H-1B or L-1 status (S. 887)
4. creating new office requirements for L-1 visa holders (S.887)
5. imposing broad no-layoff restrictions (S.2804) and, depending on level and justification, higher H-1B fees (Senate floor amendments).
The report notes that passage of either bill could very well subject the US to litigation from other World Trade Organization members and possible retaliation against US exporters as well as American companies employing US citizens abroad.