What Trump's H-1B Order Means For Indian IT Companies: 10 Points

Trump's plan is to alter the H-1B system so it admits only workers who are among the most highly paid and/or skilled in their fields - a "total transformation", he says, from the current system in which successful applicants are chosen in a lottery.

The executive order that targets the H-1B visa programme was signed during Trump's visit to the world headquarters of Snap-On Inc, a tool manufacturer in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Does the President's executive order on buying American and hiring American make the government buy more American products? The point fits with Trump's view that the U.S. imports too many products and exports too few.

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.

"We believe jobs must, should be offered to American workers first", Mr. Trump said in his speech.

Trump has said he would like to reform the United States immigration system, including the H1-B visas, but has so far focused most of his attention on cracking down on illegal immigration, with greater immigration enforcement and a proposed border wall with Mexico. It will call for "the strict enforcement of all laws governing entry into the USA of labour from overseas for the stated goal of creating higher wages and higher employment rates for workers in the United States", a senior official said.

The order looks to reinforce Trump's campaign rhetoric by protecting certain American-made goods.

He said that cutting regulations and getting tax reform are important, but even more critical is Trump's "America first" rhetoric.

Trump said he hopes his new executive order puts a stop to this.

The "buy American, hire American" directive does not make any immediate changes to the H-1B system, however, but commissions the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to review the way H-1B visas are granted.

Large outsourcing companies, such as Wipro Technologies, IBM and Cognizant all utilise the H-1B visa scheme to employ highly-skilled workers.

The order doesn't seem to change the status of existing visa waiver rules in the United States and instead orders departments to review and identify potential "abuses" of the visa waiver system. Reports state that the order will not affect other such guest worker visas like the H-2B seasonal worker visa used by USA farms and agriculturists and Trump's own resorts.

Universities also use H-1B visas to hire workers, but they aren't subject to the same cap and it's easier for them to get visas each year. The government uses a lottery to award 65,000 visas every year and randomly distributes another 20,000 to graduate student workers.

  • Larry Hoffman