Sunday, 21 January, 2018

Trump order would target high skilled worker visa program

Melissa Porter | 19 April, 2017, 01:00

Disney IT workers, who had trained H-1B holding replacements, spoke at some of his rallies, and the idea that the visa program is being being abused was major theme for Trump.

Its "original intent (was) awarding visas to the most skilled and highest paid applicants- crucially, at such time as these reforms are eventually implemented, it will prevent the program from being used to displace American workers", a White House official said.

In his maiden speech to Congress, on March 1, Trump had proposed introducing an Australian-style merit-based system to reduce the flow of unskilled workers into the United States. "We are talking to clients about offshoring more work to India, and the work done by junior employees can be brought to India", the report said citing one executive at the company, as saying.

President Donald Trump will sign an executive order Tuesday dubbed "Buy American, Hire American" that calls for sweeping reform of the H-1B visa process.

Now Trump has begun to answer those questions, using the power of his office to target a visa program that Silicon Valley relies on as a critical labor source.

"With respect to the H-1B visa programme in particular, which deals mostly with STEM jobs, we graduate about twice as many STEM students each year as find jobs in STEM fields".

The order will also direct the departments of Labor, Justice, Homeland Security and State to examine their various programs and explore various ways to crack down on "fraud and abuse ... in our immigration system in order to protect workers in the United States and their economic conditions".

The lottery was held for the 20,000 H-1B visas for those applicants having higher education from U.S. educational institutions.

The ideas that the H-1B visa program is "limiting American jobs is a fallacy", Foundation Capital General Partner Paul Holland told CNBC on Tuesday.

Under the new order, the H-1B visa would no longer serve as a cheap way for companies to replace USA workers, the official added. The top three recipients of the H-1B visas, the official said, were Tata (TCS), Infosys and Cognizant.

Specifically targeted: The H-1B visa program, which allows 85,000 foreign workers into the United States each year to take specific high-skilled jobs with USA companies. 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 US priority in getting H-1B visas. Tech companies say they rely on the program to make up for a shortage of Americans trained in science and engineering.

In some cases, companies must make a good faith effort to hire a US worker before turning to an H-1B worker, but there are many exceptions to this requirement.

"Some companies oftentimes are called outsourcing firms".

That number was down from the two prior seasons, with Mar-a-Lago requesting 90 visas in 2014 and 87 visas in 2013, according to The Palm Beach Post. "I don't know if you're asking because you don't know or you're pretending you don't know".

Beyond that, the administration could scrap the current lottery approach and give priority to higher-paying jobs, thereby weeding out lower-paying, entry-level positions.

The agencies are being told to reexamine how they grant waivers to award federal contractors to low-bidding foreign manufacturers.

The Trump administration can do a few things on its own. More than 15 per cent of Facebook's USA employees in 2016 used a temporary work visa, according to a Reuters analysis of Labour Department filings.