Washington: Amid reports that entertainment giant Walt Disney has laid off American employees and replaced them with Indians holding H1-B visas, US Homeland Security Secretary Jeb Johnson has told lawmakers that any such allegations are very troubling and should be investigated.
"Through the H-1B programme, those who hold visas are not supposed to replace Americans with jobs. Any such allegations are very troubling to me, I believe that such matters should be investigated," Johnson told lawmakers during a Congressional hearing.
Responding to a question on this issue, Johnson sought the help of the Congress in this regard.
"I think that Congress can help through increased enforcement mechanisms for situations where an employer does in fact, replace American workers with H-1B holders. That is the recommendation that is made to me and I support that," Johnson said.
Earlier, Congressman Jerrold Nadler referred to the recent stories about the Disney company and others laying off hundreds of their own American employees who are then forced to train foreigners who came here on H-1B visas to replace them.
"Now, if that is true, that is a very serious failing of the H-1B programme, and it being used to displace American workers rather than to supply for people slots that American workers can't fill," he said.
Nadler said he has been looking at it sympathetically, to increase a number of H-1B visas.
"In fact we voted out of this committee and increase of 50,000 H-1B visas, to which most of us on our side of the aisle voted against only because of the provision to eliminate an equivalent number of diversity visas," Nadler said.
"But the assertion that we need more H1-B visas because we have to bring engineers and others in this country to fill positions that we can't fill here, we've heard that repeatedly," the Congressman said.