Published: Thu, April 20, 2017
U.S. | By Monique Johnson

Donald Trump signs executive order targeting H-1B visa used by Indians

"No longer are we going to allow foreign countries to cheat our producers and our workers out of federal contracts", he said.

The Secretary of State, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Labor, and the Secretary of Homeland Security are tasked with proposing new rules and issuing new guidance with the intent of protecting US workers and eliminating fraud or abuse. And H-1B visas-which let in skilled foreign workers-have become an important focal point, given the debates over economic migration and outsourcing as well as Trump's past business practices.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull had yesterday said his government will abolish a popular work visa used by over 95,000 foreign workers, majority of them Indians, to tackle the growing unemployment and replace it with a new programme requiring higher English-language proficiency and job skills. The agencies also would propose changes so that the visas are only given to "most-skilled or highest-paid applicants", an administration official told the AP.

In the upcoming executive order, Trump is expected to have the Department of Homeland Security, the agency that issues the H-1B visa, to further review their conditions for awarding.

Trump also wants to toughen up the requirement that American-made goods be used in certain federal construction projects or in highway projects that are paid for with federal grants.

Government data released this week, meanwhile, shows that the number of applicants for H-1B visas has fallen. "I'm grateful that President Trump has taken my suggestions to heart by taking steps today to protect American workers and preserve limited H-1B visas for truly qualified, high-skilled foreign workers". This year, 199,000 applications were received, CNN reported.

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

"This does nothing", said Senator Charles Schumer of NY, the Democratic leader. "It's not going to create a single job". An administration official told reporters on Monday that 80% of the immigrants who enter the USA on H-1B visas are paid less than the median wage in their fields. "It's too little, too late". Many of those proposals, as per industry body Nasscom, are discriminatory and are targeted towards Indian IT companies.

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