Trump signs executive order for overhaul of H-1B visa system

The order, which Trump signed after delivering his remarks, looks to bolster protections for certain American-made goods and calls for a review of the H-1B visa program for skilled workers, with the goal of reforming the program, senior administration officials said.

President Donald Trump- hammering his "America First" campaign theme after recent policy flip-flops that have infuriated his populist base - signed an executive order on Tuesday authorizing studies and tweaks in government rules that could lead to restrictions on foreign technical workers.

The executive order also targets the H-1B visa program, which allows companies to hire skilled foreign labor.

Trump used the occasion to roll out an executive order created to favor American products and workers and to block cheap foreign labor from coming to the United States.

The new order asks the four federal departments of labour, justice, homeland security and state to crack down on alleged "fraud and abuse" in the immigration system in order to protect American workers. "Instead, they should be given to the most-skilled and highest-paid applicants, and they should never, ever be used to replace Americans", he said. "Any process by which the government targets workplaces must include a protocol to assist not only impacted USA workers, but also H-1B workers who are particularly vulnerable given their immigration status, and who can be victims of visa abuse by unscrupulous employers".

Trump also renewed criticism of the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, reiterating his campaign vow to renegotiate or scrap the 1994 deal, which lifted trade barriers between the U.S., Mexico and Canada. The commerce secretary is to review how to close loopholes in existing rules and provide recommendations to the president.

The first part entails fully monitoring, upholding and enforcing "buy American" laws. Others say it could make it easier to recruit highly skilled employees because H-1B visas wouldn't be taken by lower-skilled workers.

FOX6 News is not aware of any arrests made during President Trump's visit to Kenosha.

In a briefing with reporters Monday, White House officials said the "Buy American and Hire American" order would also overhaul federal procurement practices to increase the selection of products from US companies, especially in the domestic steel industry, which has faced stiff competition from China.

AILA president William A Stock said H-1B workers help transform state and local economies across the nation, adding that the immigration system is critical to all geographic and industry sectors, not just Silicon Valley.

Even if Democrats question the effectiveness of Trump's order, some countries that have been sending workers to the United States are bracing for big changes.

In his maiden speech to Congress, on March 1, Trump had proposed introducing an Australian-style merit-based system to reduce the flow of unskilled workers into the United States. Trump reversed himself on both positions in interviews last week.

Tech advocacy group FWD.US said that the announcement should improve the visa system for highly-skilled workers. "But it also means employers can be at risk if they're not reviewing how competitive the salaries are for their foreign workers". "There is a lot we can do administratively, and the rest will be done hopefully legislatively". The startup applied for four visas this year, for positions they say they couldn't find a USA worker to fill. The staffing companies then sell their services to corporate clients.

"In a way, I think the drop in H-1B visa requests is similar to the drop in illegal border crossings-they're all an initial reaction to Trump's rhetoric reflecting concerns as to what he's going to do". Tech workers losing their jobs sometimes have sometimes been required to train their foreign replacements to qualify for severance packages.

  • Leroy Wright