Trump signs 'Hire American' order in Snap-on visit

Trump order would target high skilled worker visa program

Trump said companies frequently abuse the H-1B program, offering jobs to foreign employees at lower wages in lieu of hiring American workers, and he argued that the program should be limited to "only the most highly-skilled and qualified applicants", though it was unclear who would meet that criteria.

Acting on his "Buy American, Hire American" pledge, Trump signed the order that calls for an overhaul of the programme at the Kenosha, Wisconsin, headquarters of tool-maker Snap-on Inc on Tuesday.

"The executive order is expected to commission the Department of Homeland security to review the current H-1B programme as the United States administration wants to only allow highly-skilled foreign nationals who will contribute to the USA economy", the report said quoting a global immigration and employment law firm LawQuest managing partner Poorvi Chothani, as saying. In an announcement, the White House said H-1B visas should bring the highly talented and paid work to the United States.

ALSO READ: H-1B Visa: Will US Prez Donald Trump's new executive order impact Indian IT cos?

On Tuesday, Australia abolished a visa programme that is used by over 95,000 temporary foreign workers including Indians. "And "Hire American' generally refers to the body of law and policy concerning how our immigration, visa and guest worker programs are operated to ensure proper protections for American workers".

The Indian government, on its part, has said it will take up the issue with the American authorities during the upcoming visit of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to the US.

More news: The Trump Administration's H-1B Visa Changes Are Creating Uncertainty Among Employers

Nasscom reiterated the point that persistent myths surrounding H-1B visas as cheap labour or displacing American workers as inaccurate. Earlier on Tuesday, Trump ordered a review of government procurement rules favoring American companies to see if they are actually benefiting, especially the USA steel industry.

Moreover, the current law and regulations of the H-1B program require that beneficiaries of H-1B visas hold at least a specialised bachelors degree for the position offered and there are anti-fraud and training fees for employers to pay so that the government can maintain programs President Trump is calling for, she said. His businesses have also hired foreign workers, including at his Palm Beach, Florida, club.

At the same time, President Trump has ordered an inter-departmental review of the H1B visa programme.

"Indian firms support efforts to root out any abuse occurring in the H-1B system, as our IT industry is one of the most regulated sectors in the economy, and companies abide by applicable laws and regulations", claimed Nasscom.

"But what is even more disappointing is the fact that the NDA government, which had made tall promises to young Indians in the 2014 election campaign, has completely failed to work with both the American and the Australian governments to try and convey to them the Indian point of view", he said.

On Monday, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services had said that employers who sought visas for 2018 submitted only 199,000 applications this year, compared to last year's 236,000 applications.

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