US President Donald Trump To Sign New Executive Order To Reform H1-B VisasApril 18, 2017 13:36
US President Donald Trump, has unveiled his plans, on signing a new executive order, today, to reform the H1-B visas.
As per the order, the federal agencies will be directed to recommend changes to a temporary visa program, used to bring foreign workers, to the United States, to occupy high-skilled jobs.
The “buy American and hire American” order, will be used by Trump, to seek changes in government procurement practices, and to increase the purchase of American products, in federal contracts, said two of the senior Trump administration officials.
The executive order, will be signed, on his visit to the World headquarters of Snap-On Inc (SNA.N), a tool manufacturer in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The order is an attempt by Trump to carry out his “America First” campaign. The campaign pledges to improve US immigration policies and encourage purchases of American products. The US President, is near to completion of his 100-day benchmark of his presidency.
One of the senior official said, “The order, which Trump will sign, calls for the strict enforcement of all laws, governing entry into the United States of labor from abroad, for the said purpose of creating higher wages and higher employment rates for workers in the United States.”
The departments of Labor, Justice, Homeland Security and State, will be called on to take action to crack down, on what the official referred as “fraud and abuse” in the US immigration system to protect American workers. These four federal departments, will be called upon by the order, to lay improvements on H1-B visas, and to ensure that they are awarded to the most skilled or only the highest paid applicant.
According to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the H1-B visas, are considered for foreign nationals in “specialty” occupations that generally require higher education, which generally requires higher education, but it is not limited to, scientists, engineers or computer programmers. A lottery system is used, to award 65,000 visas every year and randomly distributes another 20,000 to graduate student workers.
As per the USCIS, the number of applications for the H1-B visas, fell to 199,000 this year from 236,000 in 2016. Companies say, they utilize the visas to recruit top talent. According to a Reuters’ analysis of US Labor Department filings, more than 15% of Facebook Inc's (FB.O) US employees in 2016 used a temporary work visa. But, most of the visas are awarded to outsourcing firms. This has in turn raised criticism by the questioners, who say those firms use the visas to fill lower-level information technology jobs. The lottery system benefits outsourcing firms that flood the system with mass applications, say critics.
The companies such as Walt Disney Co (DIS.N) and Southern California Edison Co (SCE_pe.A), a utility, have utilized the program to terminate in-house IT employees and replace them with cheaper contractors, claimed the critics from the Democratic and Republican. However, Disney and Edison have said that they paid foreign contractors comparably with local staffers.
The end result of how the system currently works is that foreign workers are often brought in at less pay to replace American workers, “violating the rules of the program, a senior official said. The federal agencies, will also hold the responsibility on getting rid of the loopholes in the government procurement process.
The review will be taken into account whether renunciation in free-trade agreements are leading to unfair trade, by allowing foreign companies to weaken American companies in the global government procurement market.
“If it turns out America is a net loser because of those free-trade agreement waivers, which apply to almost 60 countries, these waivers may be promptly renegotiated or revoked,” the second official said.