Trump Orders Review of the H-1B Visa Process

Trump is heading Tuesday to Kenosha, Wisconsin, where he plans to sign an order dubbed "Buy American, Hire American", said administration officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity despite the president's frequent criticism of the use of anonymous sources.

The "buy American" part of the executive order directs agencies to conduct a top-to-bottom performance review of the use of waivers.

Trump issued the 'Buy American, Hire American' executive order on Tuesday in Wisconsin, stating that the order will tighten guest worker visas like H1-B, and would also require American agencies to purchase more products and services from USA companies and workers.

Tuesday's executive order stopped short of Trump's campaign call and made no specific recommendations on how to change the program.

"We are going to defend our workers, protect our jobs, and finally put America first".

Hannity then turned to the issue of repealing Obamacare, to which Trump Jr. said his father will not let the law outright collapse because he cares about the American people and wants to fulfill his promises.

Technology companies have been highly resistant to the move, stating the H-1B program is needed to ensure the sector is open to attract the highest possible talent, which will ensure economic growth. "Nothing is being proposed that would impact or change the FY18 H-1B lottery that is now underway", Nasscom said in a statement.

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The tech industry has argued that the H-1B program is needed because it encourages students to stay in the USA after getting degrees in high-tech specialties - and they can't always find enough American workers with the skills they need. They need the best and the brightest, whether American or foreign-born, to give their startups a competitive advantage, and the current H-1B lottery often squeezes out the smaller players.

Instead, the executive order will look for administrative changes, including an overhaul of the lottery system used to determine which companies can sponsor the visas, one official said.

"We believe that jobs must be offered to American workers first - does that make sense?"

As indicated by the executive order signed by Trump, the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Labor, and the Secretary of Homeland Security should propose changes to help guarantee that H-1B visas are granted to the most talented or most skilled applicants.

The administration announced that it will suspend "premium processing", a process where US employers will be expected to wait several months before the H-1B foreign workers can enter the country.

Mr Trump's wife Melania used an H-1B visa in her early days as a model in NY, says the BBC's Gary O'Donoghue in Washington. Many Trump-branded products, like clothing, are made overseas.

  • Megan Austin