Trump takes aim at H-1B visa program

He campaigned past year on promises to overhaul US trade and regulatory policy, but his executive orders on those issues reflect the administration bowing somewhat to the limits of presidential power.

Srinivasan said service-based companies were to blame for violations by companies using H-1B visas. Additionally, it asked them to propose new rules and guidance for preventing fraud and abuse of work visas. Many go to technology companies, which argue that the USA has a shortage of skilled technology workers.

Trump made it clear that this order declares that American projects should be made with American goods. What's more, the regulatory path could stretch into 2018 because it would require public input and agency reviews, according to BI's Caitlin Webber. But privately executives at most Indian IT firms will admit they are anxious. In putting pen to paper on this matter, Trump is looking to bring to fruition his campaign promise to support domestic blue-collar workers and United States job creation. Domestic hot-rolled coil, a steel benchmark, rose 55 percent a year ago, the most since at least 2007. And if they are forced to recruit employees from the U.S. - which would lead to higher costs - then that would affect their profitability in the long term. "Under such circumstances, the USA will block visa applications seeking low wages", said Joshi.

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The four departments will then submit their findings to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and release a report in 220 days. Congressman Bill Pascrell, Ranking Democrat on the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade, alleged that the executive orde is yet another "broken promise" from Trump, who told the American people that he would end the H-1B visa program.

There's an annual quota of 85,000 new H-1B visas (with 20,000 reserved for master's degree holders).

Finally, the order requests that the "Secretary of State, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Labor, and the Secretary of Homeland Security shall, as soon as practicable, suggest reforms to help ensure that H-1B visas are awarded to the most-skilled or highest-paid petition beneficiaries".

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But the White House said the programme is undercutting American workers by bringing in cheaper labour and that some tech companies are using it to hire large numbers of workers and drive down wages.

Indian workers receive more than 70% of all H-1B visas, which are initially valid for three years.

The executive order will also focus on reviewing waivers in free-trade agreements and whether they allow foreign firms to undermine American companies in the global government procurement market.

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What's more, the executive orders will also require federal agencies to review and minimise the use of waivers and exceptions in global trade agreements.

  • Nancy Warren