Reviewing H-1B program too little too late say lawmakers

Reviewing H-1B program too little too late say lawmakers

The moves show Mr Trump once again using his power to issue executive orders to try to fulfil promises he made past year in his election campaign, in this case to reform U.S. immigration policies and encourage purchases of American products.

Trump signed the order targeting the programme popular with Indian technology professionals at the Kenosha, Wisconsin headquarters of tool maker Snap-on Inc yesterday.

"We see Mr. Trump's "Hire American" initiative likely driving up the cost to make steel in the USA, a likely headwind for domestic mills", Johnson said Tuesday in a note to investors.

He signed the so-called Buy America, Hire America order on a visit to a tool factory in the U.S. state of Wisconsin.

It's unclear how the program may change, but India's huge tech industry says America still has a shortage of skilled workers that the H-1B system was created to ease. "This will stop", Trump told an enthusiastic audience in Wisconsin before signing the executive order.

The H-1B visa is a good thing in many cases. "I applaud President Trump for his efforts to spur job creation, economic growth, and American competitiveness by improving our country's high-skilled immigration programs", said House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte. The tech industry has argued that the H-1B program is needed because it encourages students to stay in the US after getting degrees in high-tech specialties — and because companies can't always find enough American workers with the skills they need. But according to studies, 80 per cent of the approved applications were for the two lowest wage levels allowed. Also, he has recently reversed several populist promises, including standing up to China, which he contended was manipulating its currency and stealing American jobs, and eliminating the Export-Import Bank, which he billed as wasteful subsidy. Dan Kowalski, a Denver-based immigration attorney, said Trump's executive order can't actually change the existing H-1B law.

Last year, Disney was accused of taking advantage of the H-1B visa scheme to lay off American technology workers, who were forced to train their foreign replacements.

The government uses a lottery system to grant 65,000 visas every year and randomly distributes an additional 20,000 to graduate students.

"Right now, H-1B visas are awarded at a totally random lottery".

While the order will not immediately translate into a visible drop in the number of H-1B visas issued, it will require the Departments of State, Labor, Justice and Homeland Security to make revisions in their regulations to protect American workers.

The Order also targets the abusive use of waivers and exceptions that undermine "Buy American" laws meant to promote taxpayer money going to American companies.

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