High-skills visa applications drop ahead of Trump move to limit program

Trump has signed the order focusing on the program prevalent with Indian technology professionals at the Kenosha, Wisconsin central command of tool maker Snap-on Inc 18 April.

In the USA, outsourcers often bring staffers into the country on work visas, train them in the tech departments of leading corporations and then rotate them back to India where pay and living costs are lower.

"Right now H-1B visas are awarded in a totally random lottery and that's wrong". The executive order will make reforms to raise the bar for foreign workers and will select only highly-skilled applicants.

Employers including Walt Disney World and the University of California in San Francisco have replaced American technology workers with H-1B visa holders.

Pinchuk said he believes it's actually the "seminal issue of our time", because we're in a global competition for jobs. "Does that make sense?" said the United States president.

As Trump closed in on the first 100 days of his presidency, he returned to Wisconsin to cement ties with a swing state that delivered him an unexpected victory in the 2016 election.

"And his two high-profile executive orders cracking down on immigration from predominantly Muslim nations have been stymied by the courts", the paper pointed out.

American jobs need to be protected and this executive order seems like a good step.

His order, however, does not mention the H-2B visa, which allows U.S. employers to temporarily hire foreign, non-agricultural workers for seasonal employment.

"We are finally standing up for our workers and our companies", Mr Trump said on Tuesday.

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The document will bring in major changes regarding the H1B visa program, including closing loopholes for immigration fraud and a shift from the current lottery system to a mechanism that favors higher paid and higher skilled workers.

Senior officials gave few details on the implementation of the order, but Trump aides have expressed concern that most H-1B visas are awarded for lower-paid jobs at outsourcing firms, many based in India, which they say takes work away from Americans.

"For too long, rather than operating as designed and allowing only the best and brightest to come in and fill key positions, the H-1B nonimmigrant visa program has been administered in a way that harms American workers", a White House official said.

According to a few United States reports, a larger part of the H-1B visas each year is gotten by Indian IT experts.

This month USCIS received 199,000 H-1B visa petitions and as a result, the federal agency had to resort to a computerised draw of lots to decide the fate of successful applicant.

It was unclear whether the latest such order would yield immediate results.

Many Silicon Valley tech companies support the H-1B visa program and will monitor the review the administration has proposed closely.

The "buy American" portion of the order directs federal agencies to conduct a "top-to-bottom performance review" of the use of waivers to the Berry Amendment and the Buy American Act and for stricter enforcement of laws pertaining to the use of USA -made iron and steel in projects supported by federal funds.

"This does nothing", said Senator Charles Schumer of NY, the Democratic leader.

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". It's not going to fix the problem.

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