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

Trump signs 'buy American, hire American' order to end H-1B 'misuse'

Trump signs 'buy American, hire American' order to end H-1B 'misuse'

About 6 percent of the visas now go to the Labor Department's top skill level, while 8 in 10 workers using the visa are paid less than the median wage for their fields, the White House said in a fact sheet distributed to reporters.

Trump called the order "a powerful signal to the world" that "finally puts America first".

He said the order sets in motion the first steps to initiate "long-overdue" reforms to end "visa abuses".

The order tasked four department heads of State, Justice, Homeland Security and Labour to propose reforms in order to ensure H-1B visas are given to the "most-skilled or highest paid" petitioners.

Reforming the H-1B visa system was one of the major election promises of Trump.

Will BAHA have any impact on H-1B visas or the number of visas issued?

The technology industry relies heavily on the H-1B visa program to bring in engineering talent from overseas, and executives say they simply can not hire enough American workers to fill jobs at their companies.

Whilst the H-1B visa program is utilised predominately by the tech industry, STEM subjects and manual work, the program has come under significant criticism in recent years due to the ability for businesses to hire foreign workers at cheaper rates than U.S. workers, therefore lowering USA wages.

A bulk of H1B visa winners, every year, are from Indian IT giants like Infosys, Wipro, TCS, Cognizant and others.

"It doesn't do anything", said William Stock, president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) in Philadelphia. As per Trump's speech to media on Tuesday, the president yet again made an attempt to stress "Buy American - Hire American" policy.

"Many of the changes to the H-1B programme contemplated by the administration would require legislative action or rule-making and would take time to go through the necessary processes", he said.

Whether you're for or against the new executive order, there isn't much that is likely to change in the short term. It's not going to fix the problem.

More than 15 per cent of Facebook Inc's US employees in 2016 used a temporary work visa, according to a Reuters analysis of US Labor Department filings.

The policy to be followed under BAHA requires federal departments of the United States government to create jobs for the American middle class and support domestic manufacturing and defence establishments.

The companies say it will hinder their ability to hire competitively, pose challenges for employees overseas, and give more incentives for businesses to leave the US, among other problems. The move could also have big implications for the tech industries, which employs thousands of foreign nationals.

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