Trump to order increased scrutiny of H-1B visa program
- Author: Joey Payne Apr 20, 2017,
Apr 20, 2017, 9:15
Additionally, while the "Buy American" portion of the order provides time frames by which agencies must comply with each directive, the "Hire American" portion does not contain any time frames, stating instead that such reform suggestions should be presented "as soon as practicable".
"This will stop", Trump told an enthusiastic audience in Wisconsin before signing the order.
Trump carried Wisconsin in November by almost 23,000 votes - less than 1 percentage point - making him the first Republican to win the state since 1984. Donald Trump, during his election campaign, had raised the issue of "bringing jobs back to Americans" and began working on modifying the H-1B visa programme since the early days of assuming leadership.
Trump has traveled to promote his agenda less than his recent predecessors.
The order directs US agencies to propose rules to prevent immigration fraud and abuse in the program.
The document will bring in major changes regarding the H1B visa program, including closing loopholes for immigration fraud and a shift from the current lottery system to a mechanism that favors higher paid and higher skilled workers. Henceforth, officials will review waivers in free-trade agreements to check if it is leading to unfair trade. The waivers could be renegotiated or revoked if they are not benefiting the United States.
Trump promises to work with Wisconsin's congressional delegation to get a solution.
Two administration officials previewed the orders for reporters on condition of anonymity because they didn't represent the agencies most directly involved in the policies. Between 2013 and 2015, Mar-a-Lago hired 250 seasonal workers, according to the US Department of Labour. "Everyone in my administration will be expected to enforce every last Buy American provision on behalf of the American worker, and we are going to investigate every single trade deal that undermines these provisions", Trump further added. "And we should end it". Turning away highly skilled workers would reverse such appeal. However, others say updating the definition of "skilled" labor under H-1B will ensure visas attract high-skilled entrepreneurs and engineers, Forbes reports. The staffing companies then sell their services to corporate clients.
Employers from Walt Disney World to the University of California in San Francisco have laid off their tech employees and replaced them with H-1B visa holders.
While construction industry associations are typically in favor of anything that will boost American manufacturing, they are also sensitive to how these types of rules affect their member companies, who might see their bottom lines shrink under such restrictive "Buy American" sourcing policies.
Rep. Mark Walker, R-N.C., who hosted a gathering of black college presidents in Washington, said Trump's order "as a byproduct could help some of the HBCU graduates". The manufacturer of high-end tools and equipment employs approximately 11,500 people worldwide, according to its website.