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Trump targets visa program he says hurts US workers

Trump targets visa program he says hurts US workers

The order aligns with President Trump's promise as a candidate to review visa programs to prioritize the goal of "Buy American, Hire American", even as the president's own company, the Trump Organization, has not always done so.

The $150-billion Indian outsourcing industry has been bracing for drastic changes in the H-1B visa programme, the most favoured route to send Indian engineers to the USA, which allowed IT services firms to keep costs low and gain an advantage over global competitors.

U.S. President Donald Trump's "Buy American, Hire American" executive order on Tuesday left questions about how the government would enforce the order and whether it would make a real difference in output and employment, according to steel executives and analysts. In fact, when news about H-1B visa reform had surfaced months back, Indian IT stocks plummeted.

The government uses a lottery to award 65,000 visas every year and randomly distributes another 20,000 to graduate student workers.

About 85,000 H-1B visas are distributed annually by lottery. And I talked to an expert - immigration attorney Ahmad Yakzan - on the kind of hiring President Trump says he wants to crack down on.

She pointed out that the unemployment rate for occupations that use H-1B visas is very low as compared to the national unemployment rate.

"It is also a myth that USA businesses seek H-1B workers in order to save money; the fees and costs associated with filing a successful petition are high enough that most employers use the H-1B because they can not locate a qualified United States worker to fill the position", Bernhard said. The officials said that not only the foreign workers displace American workers, but also undercut wages. It instructs the agency to pay special attention to visas which should only go to highly paid, specially skilled applicants when there is a US deficiency.

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Employers from Walt Disney World to the University of California in San Francisco have laid off their tech employees and replaced them with H-1B visa holders.

The government has "utterly failed" to protect the interests of the Indian youth seeking job opportunities in the U.S. and Australia after the two countries tightened rules for work visas.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.

Whether you're for or against the new executive order, there isn't much that is likely to change in the short term. The EO focuses on prevention of fraud and abuse to protect the interests of U.S. workers affected by the administration of the immigration system.

According to the release, the Trump's executive order calls on the executive branch to fully enforce the laws governing the entry of foreign workers into the United States economy, to promote rising wages and more employment. "You need to reform the H1-B system".

But the White House says that such exemptions have gone too far and that US contractors are unjustly losing out.


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