Trump targets visa program he says hurts American workers

The H1B visa is specifically meant for highly skilled IT workers, however there are allegations that Indian companies use it to hire regular IT staff and in the process save money because they have to pay less to Indian workers compared to how much they will have to pay to the Americans for a similar position.

Trump is heading Tuesday to Kenosha, Wisconsin, where he plans to sign an order dubbed "Buy American and Hire American", said administration officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity despite the president's frequent criticism of the use of anonymous sources.

Trump signed an executive order on enforcing and reviewing the H-1B visa, popular in the technology industry. It urges these departments to propose reforms to ensure H-1B visas are awarded to the most skilled or highest paid applicant, reported Reuters. "Nothing is being proposed that would impact or change the FY18 H1B lottery that is now underway", Nasscom said in a statement. The executive order will make reforms to raise the bar for foreign workers and will select only highly-skilled applicants. Some lawmakers, including members of the Congressional Black Caucus, contend that companies need to do a better job at recruiting and hiring skilled African-American workers.

The United States admits 85,000 people into the country each year on H-1B visas, 20,000 of whom are graduate student workers. "Right now, H-1B visas are awarded in a totally random lottery, and that's wrong", Trump said.

"As with Trump's campaign promises, the executive order is full of loopholes that are created to protect Wall Street interests and multinational corporations-at the expense of American workers and communities".

Officials also said government procurement portions of existing trade agreements would be reviewed to see whether US companies get the same chance to sell products to the governments of USA trading partners that foreign firms get in Washington.

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While visiting a tool manufacturer in the Midwestern state of Wisconsin, Trump said: "We don't have a level field for [American] workers".

Starting this month, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services temporarily suspended premium processing for all H-1B visa petitions.

"I think you can make a strong case for expanding the H-1B visa program to allow more visas", Bauer said.

Technology executives, who have generally been critical of Trump's policies, were tentatively positive about the White House's efforts to change how work visas are doled out to foreign workers. "Simply reviewing the programme is too little, too late", Senator Dick Durbin said.

"My sense is that the big tech companies that directly hire H-1B immigrant workers probably did not cut back on their requests, but the body shops, mostly India-based companies that rent out H-1Bs as cheap labor, is where most of the decline happened", Krikorian told the Free Beacon in an interview Tuesday.

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