Trump to seek changes in visa program to encourage hiring Americans




  • In US
  • 2017-04-18 02:22:05Z
  • By By Steve Holland
U.S. President Donald Trump arrives to board Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews outside Washington, U.S., before traveling to Palm Beach, Florida
U.S. President Donald Trump arrives to board Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews outside Washington, U.S., before traveling to Palm Beach, Florida  

By Steve Holland

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday will sign an executive order directing federal agencies to recommend changes to a temporary visa program used to bring foreign workers to the United States to fill high-skilled jobs.

Two senior Trump administration officials who briefed reporters at the White House said Trump will also use the "buy American and hire American" order to seek changes in government procurement practices to increase the purchase of American products in federal contracts.

Trump is to sign the order when he visits the world headquarters of Snap-On Inc, a tool manufacturer in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

The order is an attempt by Trump to carry out his "America First" campaign pledges to reform U.S. immigration policies and encourage purchases of American products. As he nears the 100-day benchmark of his presidency, Trump has no major legislative achievements to tout but has used executive orders to seek regulatory changes to help the U.S. economy.

The order he will sign on Tuesday will call for "the strict enforcement of all laws governing entry into the United States of labor from abroad for the stated purpose of creating higher wages and higher employment rates for workers in the United States," one of the senior officials said.

It will call on the departments of Labor, Justice, Homeland Security and State to take action to crack down on what the official called "fraud and abuse" in the U.S. immigration system to protect American workers.

The order will call on those four federal departments to propose reforms to ensure H-1B visas are awarded to the most skilled or highest paid applicant.

H-1B visas are intended for foreign nationals in "specialty" occupations that generally require higher education, which according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) includes, but is not limited to, scientists, engineers or computer programmers. The government uses a lottery to award 65,000 visas every year and randomly distributes another 20,000 to graduate student workers.

The number of applications for H-1B visas fell to 199,000 this year from 236,000 in 2016, according U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Companies say they use visas to recruit top talent. More than 15 percent of Facebook Inc's U.S. employees in 2016 used a temporary work visa, according to a Reuters analysis of U.S. Labor Department filings.

But a majority of the visas are awarded to outsourcing firms, sparking criticism by skeptics who say those firms use the visas to fill lower-level information technology jobs. Critics also say the lottery system benefits outsourcing firms that flood the system with mass applications.

The senior official said the end result of how the system currently works is that foreign workers are often brought in at less pay to replace American workers, "violating the principle of the program."

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, Democratic Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois, Republican Representative Darrell Issa of California and Democratic Representative Zoe Lofgren of California were not immediately available to comment.

Facebook, Microsoft Corp and Apple Inc were also not immediately available after normal business hours.

The order also asks federal agencies to look at how to get rid of loopholes in the government procurement process.

Specifically, the review will take into account whether waivers in free-trade agreements are leading to unfair trade by allowing foreign companies to undercut American companies in the global government procurement market.

"If it turns out America is a net loser because of those free-trade agreement waivers, which apply to almost 60 countries, these waivers may be promptly renegotiated or revoked," the second official said.


(Reporting by Steve Holland; Additional reporting by Eric Beech in Washington and David Ingram in San Francisco; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

COMMENTS

More Related News

The Latest: Senators aim to force vote on Russia resolution
The Latest: Senators aim to force vote on Russia resolution
  • World
  • 2018-07-18 20:49:55Z

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Latest on continuing reaction to President Donald Trump's summit with Russia's Vladimir Putin (all times local):

Majority of Americans think Trump mishandling Russia: Reuters/Ipsos poll
Majority of Americans think Trump mishandling Russia: Reuters/Ipsos poll
  • US
  • 2018-07-18 00:38:15Z

Forty-two percent of registered voters said they approved of Trump's performance in office in the latest opinion poll, compared with a daily average of between 40 and 44 percent so far in July. The poll found that 55 percent of registered voters disapproved while 37 percent approved of his handling

Obama gives Trump sharp rebuke in Mandela address on values
Obama gives Trump sharp rebuke in Mandela address on values

Former U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday took aim at "strongman politics" in his highest-profile speech since leaving office, urging people around the world to respect human rights and other values now under threat in an impassioned address marking the 100th anniversary of anti-apartheid

Trump Says Air Force One to Get
Trump Says Air Force One to Get 'Red, White and Blue' Paint Job

Forget John F. Kennedy's baby blue: The next version of Air Force One will be painted in the colors of the American flag, says President Donald Trump. "It's going to be the top of the line, the top in the world,'' Trump said in an interview with CBS. The new paint job for a global symbol of U.S. power

Trump returns from summit with Putin to forceful criticism
Trump returns from summit with Putin to forceful criticism
  • World
  • 2018-07-17 08:55:35Z

HELSINKI (AP) - In an extraordinary embrace of a longtime U.S. enemy, President Donald Trump openly questioned his own intelligence agencies' firm finding that Russia meddled in the 2016 U.S. election to his benefit, seeming to accept Russian President Vladimir Putin's insistence that Moscow&

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: US

facebook
Hit "Like"
Don't miss any important news
Thanks, you don't need to show me this anymore.