Published: Thu, April 20, 2017
Global | By Doris Richards

Trump signs order to implement 'Buy American, Hire American'

Trump signs order to implement 'Buy American, Hire American'

U.S. President Donald Trump plans to sign an executive order in Wisconsin Tuesday that will order a review of the H-1B highly-skilled worker immigration visa program, a move that the White House says will encourage tech companies to hire American workers instead of cheaper foreign labor.

Trump signed an executive order on enforcing and reviewing the H-1B visa, popular in the technology industry, on a visit to Kenosha, Wisconsin, as a first step towards reforming the visa regime. Part of today's order dubbed "Buy American and Hire American" also directs the agencies to suggest reforms to the H-1B visa process.

The order tasked four department heads of State, Justice, Homeland Security and Labour to propose reforms in order to ensure H-1B visas are given to the "most-skilled or highest paid" petitioners. The order also seeks to strengthen requirements that American-made products be used in certain federal construction projects, as well as in various federal grant-funded transportation projects.

The order addresses the Department of Labor, Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security and State Department to "take prompt action to crack down on fraud and abuse" within the US immigration system in order to "protect workers".

Tuesday's executive order stopped short of Trump's campaign call and made no specific recommendations on how to change the program.

Trump said his administration is going to enforce "Hire American" rules that are created to protect jobs and wages of workers in the United States. Other visa programs, like the H-2B seasonal worker visa that Trump himself uses to staff his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla., will be largely unaffected. "That is wrong. They should go to the most skilled applicants", Trump said.

Going to a more merit-based H-1B system could attract more people with advanced science and technology skills, Mr Atkinson said in a statement.

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In yesterday's White House briefing, one of the unnamed agency executives called out three of these firms, saying, "The top recipients of the H-1B visa are companies like Tata, Infosys, Cognizant".

The United States grants 85,000 H-1B temporary visas to high-skilled foreigners every year - 65,000 hired from overseas and 20,000 from those enrolled in U.S. colleges.

"The idea that Donald Trump is dramatically turning his back on his "America first" policy as well as his comment that the dollar is "too strong" are hurting the United States currency", Lawler said.

Why shouldn't we try and hire American workers as much as possible, and yes, buy American products as much as we can?

In recent years, the U.S. has been overwhelmed by applications for the programme.

The timeline for the H-1B-related review and changes was not clear in the executive order, which merely said they should be wrapped up "as soon as practicable".

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