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India Takes First Step Toward Challenging U.S. Visa Policy At WTO (March 10, 2016)

"India is also claiming that commitments made by the U.S. in its free trade agreements with Singapore and Chile to provide a certain number of H-1B visas to those countries violates the United States' commitment under GATS to annually provide 65,000 H-1Bs worldwide. However, the U.S. GATS schedule specifically states that it will offer "up to" 65,000 H-1B visas for persons annually on a worldwide basis. It also committed in its GATS schedule to allow entry for an unlimited number of qualifying L-1 visa holders."

US—India Visa Fee Controversy before the WTO: A Migration-Mobility Nexus for the WTO?

Marion Panizzon Trumping over the US election campaign is also a visa dispute at the WTO. On trial stands a bill by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services to double application fees for H1-B visa. India brought its complaint before the WTO on March 2016, alleging that the US had breached its legally binding market access commitments. The US-India dispute could set a precedent if it were to confirm the WTO’s judicial competence over visa – traditionally considered a national prerogative.

"Breaking the rules to prevent rule-breaking? The GATS and service mobility: drawing lines between genuine immigration control and protectionism"

NOTE: Although the WTO dispute this article references, DS503 is relatively new (2016) this GATS scheme it is filed under is not new- (or due, or related to COVID-19) its been in place for more than two and a half decades, but partially held up/in planning for arguably more than three decades. Its just been acrimonious, with both sides so far able to agree unable to agree on terms in their scheme to overrule democracy that *required foreign involvement to enable the international aspect that allows GATS to ignore democracy*. The scheme has not only blocked a huge laundry list of progressive policies, for decades, it also trades away many kinds of high skill jobs, good jobs, IF foreign countries firms can do them for less. With wages so much lower than US workers are paid, its likely that they'd both do that and pocket huge profits, even if they literally offer three workers for the price of one as their pitch sometimes goes. (Ive received them, at various jobs) -------------------------- Please recognize the linked article's point of view, it states that countries only have the right to regulate "immigration" which in WTO-ese only includes people seeking PERMANENT residency in our country, not the growing numbers of temporary GATS Mode 3 and Mode 4 workers. They have jobs with an employer, such as a staffing company. What bothers me is this provides a pretext which is being used to silently gut wages and jobs.(GATS Mode 4 and GATS Mode 3 are making work of all kinds, precarious work- inserting a new layer of very highly paid middlemen, a change that potentially could eventually replace the world's middle class. a way of "precaritizing" more and more of the global workforce, disenfranchising both voters and earners, (by forcing more and more to cross borders and shed rights, to get jobs) pushing wages globally down to some hypothetical global average wage.

IT Sector being "extraordinarily disrupted" by abuse of L-1B and H-1B visa programs on a large scale to replace US workers, this is being caused in no small part by GATS.

In particular, GATS' "movement of natural persons" provisions. (GATS' 'Mode Four') which can pay as little as US minimum wage. (even that is a subject of dispute by developing countries who claim that under trade agreements - specifically under visas like the L-1B visa, that they have a right to pay their temporary non-immigrant visa holding workers, whatever they want. This right is claimed under the original Uruguay Round and is the subject of WTO dispute DS 503, filed in March 2016 by India, and still to my knowledge unresolved.)

AFSC:Trade Agreements and Guest Worker Programs

Trade agreements lock in entitlements for foreign firms to take publicly funded jobs if they are the lowest qualified bidders, they also must give foreign companies such abnormally favorable conditions that it is almost certain they will be.

Offshoring companies are gaming the system to do an end run around US wage and hour laws, costing workers their jobs.

This is a good article. I thought that the H-1B visa is for grads of US colleges (foreign students) and that the L-1B visas are for foreign firms that bring in their own workers for typically around six years, at much lower wages. The L-1B workers have advanced degrees but are sometimes paid less than almost any other similarly skilled workers in the US. Its an especially exploitative situation for the foreign IT firms' workers. Who, if they are here, frankly should be able to earn what they are worth, and apply for citizenship after a few years. They shouldnt be exploited for cheap labor. But frankly, they are and its driving a huge amount of dishonesty in Washington. I would not be surprised if I found out healthcare was in part being held hostage, to manufacture a fake "crisis" as a means to get ultra cheap labor.

When do human rights violate corporate rights? Why, in the GATS of course.

"How Close Will GATS Get to Human Rights? Similarly to the UN considering gross human rights violations a threat to peace, the WTO should consider certain human rights violations an impediment to free trade. Mutually agreed benefits of trade liberalization may be offset when a human rights infringement nullifies and impairs the multilaterally agreed level of tariff concessions or the negotiated volume of market access commitments in services. The liberalization of services trade through mode 4, whereby the service supplier moves abroad to deliver a service, relies on the free movement of natural persons. This mode of service delivery renders the GATS the WTO covered agreement with the closest affinity to the individual as a subject of international law and therefore, to human rights. Restricting the human rights of foreign service suppliers therefore could have the effect of nullifying and impairing the economic value and legal predictability of the GATS commitments. The WTO Agreements lack the legal basis for prosecuting human rights violations. While WTO Members are bound to respect jus cogens human rights, the non-jus cogens human rights originating in customary international law usually do not raise trade issues relevant enough to question the consistency with a provision of the WTO Agreements. It is suggested that the non-violation nullification and impairment complaints may be used to consider the economic damage which occurs when human rights infringements impair upon GATS commitments, specifically in those cases where the WTO Members receiving services condition their mode 4 commitments to the respect for core labour standards. If the human right amounts to jus cogens or emanates from a human rights treaty to which both parties to a WTO dispute are Members, the human right itself forms the ground of a WTO violation complaint. In all other cases, it is not the human rights violation itself, but its effect that is the economic damage on the sending country's economy, which nullifies and impairs a trade benefit." Keywords: Human Rights, Labour Mobility, GATS, Annex on Movement of Natural Persons Supplying Services under the Agreement, International Convention on the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families, Schedule of Specific Commitments, non-violation nullification and impairment

The State of Play in GATS Negotiations: Are Developing Countries Benefiting?

I am including articles like this so that we out-of-the-loop Americans can see other points of view. I disagree with the premise that trade agreements trading away rapidly vanishing good jobs forever is somehow good. I don't think it helps the poor in any conceivable way. Highly skilled workers, as they are alleged to be - in order to get their nonimmigrant work visas, should be paid a decent wage, not be working almost for free just for a reference, while body shop firms pocket most of their earnings, paying them in many cases less than US minimum wage (when you divide the number of hours they actually work by their wages). But thats what GATS Mode Four attempts to do, and make it irreversible. The job losses to the indigenous workers are called "efficiency gains". These programs will heavily impact the core middle class professions, turning them into precarious labor. It will be quite literally NAFTA for the rest of the jobs. That's been GATS' goal from the beginning.

GATS, Migration, and Labor Standards

(Search domain Mode 4]," Abdel-Hamid Mamdouh, director of trade in services at the World Trade Organization said "Ah, yes - it could be hundreds [of millions] if we liberalize." John Zarocostas, Migration helps export services, Washington Times, January 3, 2005, p. A10.

Ellen Gould discusses GATS on Talking Stick TV.

Video - Ellen Gould is a trade expert whose insight here is quite accurate. See what she tells us here about domestic regulations, technical standrds, licensing, medical standards, everything. Lots of info on what they want to do with healthcare. The WTO could sanction us if we wanted our doctors to meet higher standards than those in the developing countries. (around 25:00) The WTO also wants us to allow for profit offshoring of poor patients. Which would be subject to the same problems as the for profit system does now, except likely worse, with less accountability.