Trump order would target high skilled worker visa program

KENOSHA, Wis. - President Trump came to Wisconsin's tool manufacturer Snap-on Inc. on Tuesday to tout manufacturing and sign an executive order as part of his "Buy American, Hire American" agenda.

The "Buy American" portion of the executive order calls for stricter enforcement of laws requiring the federal government to buy American-made products when possible.

President Trump has signed an order which will revamp the H-1B program, which is now used to employ highly skilled workers from overseas.

It directs federal agencies to propose reforms to the H-1B program that prevents the displacement of American workers.

The H-1B visa program paves the way for the majority of highly-skilled workers from other countries to work in the U.S. The visas are doled out through a lottery system, and there are usually about three times as many applicants as there are visas.

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.

Trump - who has long complained about the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) - was giving a speech to manufacturing workers in Wisconsin about the executive order when he blasted the deal once again. Earlier this year our colleagues at the American City Business Journals broke down the companies that use the H-1B visa most in the city. The executive order will make reforms to raise the bar for foreign workers and will select only highly-skilled applicants.

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Under the current system, a company who is sponsoring a potential employee or current employee's H-1B petition may fill out a form to expedite the processing of that petition.

Karis: Keeping a balance between protecting U.S. worker's jobs and keeping an worldwide perspective on talent is crucial.

"No one can compete with American workers when they're given a fair and level playing field, which has not happened for decades". The additional scrutiny DHS has ordered will include "site visits" to determine whether "H-1B dependent employers are evading their obligation to make a good faith effort to recruit US workers", the Trump administration says.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) already suspended premium processing for all H-1B visa petitions from April 3.

Mr. Trump's long-awaited executive order drew sharp reactions from the Opposition Democrat lawmakers and the sponsors of these legislations, but drew applause from the treasury benches.

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.

  • Sonia Alvarado