Trump to overhaul H-1B visa program that admits foreign workers
The US President is expected to sign an executive order on Tuesday reviewing high-skilled H-1B immigration visas to encourage hiring Americans.
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President Donald Trump is planning to sign an executive order today that seeks to make changes to the H1-B visa program that brings in high-skilled workers.
In a bid to court working class voters, the president will use a visit to a manufacturing company in Kenosha, Wisconsin, a crucial state he snatched from Hillary Clinton in the election, to promote his latest “Buy America Hire America” offensive, as reported in The Guardian.
The order, which Trump will sign at the headquarters of tool manufacturer Snap-on, would direct the departments of Homeland Security, Justice, Labor and State to propose new rules to prevent immigration fraud and abuse. Those departments would also be asked to offer changes so that H-1B visas are awarded to the “most-skilled or highest-paid applicants.”
H-1B visas admit 65,000 workers and another 20,000 graduate student workers each year. Most of the visas are awarded to outsourcing firms, which tend to fill lower-level IT jobs with foreign workers, often at lower pay, critics say. On the contrary, technology companies argue that the United States has a shortage of skilled technology workers.
The tech industry has argued as well that the H-1B program is needed because it encourages students to stay in the U.S. after getting degrees in high-tech specialties — and they can’t always find enough American workers with the skills they need.
Trump’s executive order will call on government departments to introduce reforms to ensure that H-1B visas are awarded to the “most skilled or highest paid applicants”, the official told reporters.
“Right now H-1B visas are awarded by random lottery and many of you will be surprised to know that about 80% of H-1B workers are paid less than the median wage in their fields. Only 5% to 6%, depending on the year, of H-1B workers command the highest wage tier recognised by the Department of Labor.”
Perhaps the most notorious case cited during the campaign was at the Walt Disney Company in Florida, where American technology workers claimed they were laid off and forced to train foreign replacement, as reported in The Guardian. A judge dismissed a lawsuit that accused Disney of conspiring with outsourcing companies to violate visa laws.