Published: Thu, April 20, 2017
Global Media | By Meredith Barber

Trump's 'Buy American' executive order has no weight without Congress

Trump's 'Buy American' executive order has no weight without Congress

Trump visited the Kenosha, Wis., headquarters of tool-maker Snap-on Inc., where he reiterated his encouragement to "buy American, hire American".

"We are going to defend our workers, protect our jobs and finally put America first", Trump declared, standing in front of an American flag fashioned out of wrenches.

Here are five things health IT leaders should know.

The president on Tuesday signed a "Buy American, Hire American" executive order that is meant to protect American workers by enforcing immigration laws and cutting out unfair trade practices, which Hannity touted on his show.

Ashok Soota, the founder of Happiest Mind Technologies and IT industry veteran said that the firms are waiting to gain clarity on the likely changes to the H-1B visa policy.

It was vague on many fronts, and did not change existing rules, but one objective, said Trump aides, is to modify or replace the current lottery for H-1B visas with a merit-based system that would restrict the visas to highly skilled workers.

Asserting that the H-1B visa system was meant to meet the acute shortage of highly-skilled domestic talent in the USA, it said additional curbs on the H-1B or L-1 visas would hurt thousands of United States businesses and their efforts to be competitive by hindering access to needed talent. They also would be asked to offer changes so that H-1B visas are awarded to the "most-skilled or highest-paid applicants", said administration officials who spoke only on the condition of anonymity. It would also give the Labor Department more power to investigate and sanction H-1B abuses and give "the best and brightest" foreign students studying in the USA priority in getting H-1B visas.

"Wage levels? Set by Congress. H-1B lottery system?" It's meant for jobs requiring specialty skills that can not be filled by a US worker. "Highly-skilled immigrants create new American jobs, raise wages for native-born workers, and contribute enormously to growing our economy", he said. Ironically enough, the man who has continuously railed against other companies for taking jobs away from USA citizens has had many of his own products made overseas.

Many Silicon Valley tech companies support the H-1B visa program and will monitor the review the administration has proposed closely.

Senior Vice President and Chief Policy Officer of the US Chamber of Commerce, Neil Bradley, said economic growth requires a skilled workforce, so it should be a priority to make sure American workers have the skills required to fill open jobs with American companies. Many go to technology companies, which argue that the USA has a shortage of skilled technology workers.

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.

"The effect would end up being exactly the opposite of what Trump wants", he said. By making it harder for foreign companies to compete for contracts, Cato's Ikenson says, the US government would be allowing American companies "to raise their prices and reduce their quality".

In his remarks Tuesday, Trump said the new order is another step in his future vision for the United States, which also includes ramping up focus on other areas he believes the country has fallen behind.

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