Washington D.C. [U.S.A.], April 19: United States President Donald Trump has directed federal agencies to review a visa program used by companies to hire high-skilled foreign workers in the country.
"We are sending a powerful signal to the word we are going to defend our workers, protect our jobs and finally put America first", Trump said just before signing the order on a visit to a Wisconsin manufacturing plant. He signed the directive at Snap-on Inc.in a state he narrowly carried in November on the strength of support from white, working-class voters. Trump now has only a 41 percent approval rating in the state.
When he was running for president, then-candidate Trump said he routinely hired seasonal foreign workers for his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach because it was nearly impossible to hire American workers. They insist that they do not hire these workers so they can pay them less.
The official later clarified that it was the program rules that made it easy for misuse.
"American workers have long called for reforms to end visa abuses".
The order addresses the Department of Labor, Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security and State Department to "take prompt action to crack down on fraud and abuse" within the US immigration system in order to "protect workers". They would also be asked to offer changes so that H-1B visas are awarded to the most-skilled or highest-paid applicants. Senior administration officials say that the order will also strengthen rules that bar foreign contractors from bidding on federal government projects.
President Trump is ordering the Secretary of Commerce to review provisions in the harmful "free trade" agreements, to close loopholes on this issue. The waivers could be renegotiated or revoked if they are not perceived as benefiting the United States.
The trip brings Trump to the congressional district of House Speaker Paul Ryan, but he is out of the country on a congressional trip.
The H1-B visa program is used primarily for the upper tier of highly-skilled workers in the science, medical and engineering fields. A famous case would be Walt Disney, who replaced a large number of United States technology workers with foreign workers who were willing to accept lower wages. Many Trump-branded products are manufactured overseas, mostly in China. His businesses also have hired foreign workers, including at his Palm Beach, Fla., club. The government admits 85,000 immigrants under the visa program each year.
"It's very hard, either they're not qualified, and one of the big things, it's a seasonal job", he said. 65,000 visas are granted each year, with 20,000 other visas for graduates.