The wage issue is one of the most contentious aspects of the H-1B visa debate.
Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), one of the so-called Gang of Eight that authored the legislation, urged his colleagues on the Senate panel to crack down on companies that employ a large number of skilled foreign workers.
The senators who authored the immigration overhaul try to address those concerns with a provision meant to bridge the gap between wages paid to H-1B workers and those paid to Americans in the same positions. The legislation would essentially raise the minimum pay for H-1B workers from its current level — the average of the lowest third of overall wages paid to all workers in their occupation — to two-thirds of the average paid for their position.
The measure also would charge higher fees to employers whose work forces consist of more than 30 percent H-1B workers and prevent firms with more than 75 percent from applying for additional visas altogether.