ibusinesslines.com August 23, 2017

'Review of H-1B too little, too late'

20 April 2017, 09:44 | Justin Tyler

The president on Tuesday signed a "Buy American, Hire American" executive order that is meant to protect American workers by enforcing immigration laws and cutting out unfair trade practices, which Hannity touted on his show. "They voted to bring back their jobs, and to bring back their dreams into our country", Trump said.

He signed the so-called Buy America, Hire America order on a visit to a tool factory in the USA state of Wisconsin.

As for the H-1B visa program, Trump said visas are awarded in a random lottery.

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 overseas for the stated goal of creating higher wages and higher employment rates for workers in the United States", one of the senior officials said.

Trump said his administration is going to enforce "Hire American" rules that are created to protect jobs and wages of workers in the United States. "We believe jobs must be offered to American workers first".

"Any policy that hinders our ability to attract the best talent would be a major concern", said Chris Anderson, president of the Massachusetts High Technology Council.

Read: Trump to sign "Buy American, Hire American" executive orders.

"Every agency and department of government will conduct top-to-bottom assessments aimed squarely at cracking down on weak monitoring, enforcement, and compliance efforts, and at rooting out every single 'Buy American loophole, '" a Trump administration official explained. It instructs the agency to pay special attention to visas which should only go to highly paid, specially skilled applicants when there is a USA deficiency.

President Donald Trump will take aim at information-technology outsourcing companies when he orders a review of H-1B visa programmes to favour more skilled and highly paid applicants.

But according to studies, 80 per cent of the approved applications were for the two lowest wage levels allowed.

But the fact that it allows companies to pay foreign workers wages below industry averages is evidence, critics say, that it's actually being used to undercut American workers.

The ban is also expected to levy a blow to the tech industry, as many foreign nationals immigrate on the H-1B visa. It could, for instance, give priority to employers who rely less heavily on holders of H-1B visas.

Lottery funds more than 65,000 H1-B applications each year with another 20,000 handed out to graduate student workers.

It was unclear whether the latest such order would yield immediate results.

"The H-1B visa program is commonly discussed as being for when employers have a labor shortage", said Daniel Costa, director of immigration law and policy research at the Economic Policy Institute.

"This does nothing", said Senator Charles Schumer of NY, the Democratic leader. "This will stop", Trump said. It's not going to fix the problem.

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