Trump Orders Review of the H-1B Visa Process

Colleges fear that, as with his previous orders banning travel from some majority-Muslim nations, the president's latest move could deter foreign students from seeking to enroll on American campuses.

Trump presented his executive order as fulfilling part of his "America First" campaign promise.

President Donald Trump signed an executive order, titled "Buy American, Hire American", on Tuesday, calling for a reform of the H-1B temporary specialty work visa program.

The businessman-turned politician signed the order, which is being dubbed the "Buy American, Hire American" executive order, as he visited the global headquarters of tool manufacturing firm Snap-On Inc in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

The tech sector for decades has lobbied to increase the number of H-1B visas.

"Rules associated with trade deals and immigration policies unfairly place American companies and workers at a disadvantage", a statement from the White House said.

The Secretary of State, Attorney General, Secretary of Labor, and Secretary of Homeland Security "shall propose new rules and issue new guidance, to supersede or revise previous rules and guidance if appropriate, to protect the interests of US workers in the administration of our immigration system, including through the prevention of fraud or abuse".

"Right now, widespread abuse in our immigration system is allowing American workers of all backgrounds to be replaced by workers brought in from other countries to fill the same job for sometimes less pay".

With the order, Trump is formally calling for the secretary of commerce and the USA trade representative to assess "the impacts of all US free trade agreements" as part of the new plan.

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The practice, critics say, has the effect of driving down wages for American workers.

Changes outlined in the "Buy American, Hire American" order include a revamp of the H-1B skilled-worker lottery program. They included a promise to pursue more investigations of fraud and abuses and a warning to employers applying for the visas not to discriminate against US workers.

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 tech industry has argued that the H-1B program is needed because it encourages students to stay in the USA after getting degrees in high-tech specialties — and companies can't always find enough American workers with the skills they need.

The government issues 85,000 H-1B visas annually.

The ban is also expected to levy a blow to the tech industry, as many foreign nationals immigrate on the H-1B visa.

In recent years, the government has held a computer lottery to award the non-immigrant visas.

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.

United States authorities will also conduct site visits to check on employers who hire H-1B visa holders over Americans. An administration official told reporters on Monday that 80% of the immigrants who enter the US on H-1B visas are paid less than the median wage in their fields.

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