President Donald Trump to sign executive order on reform of H-1B visa system

Posted on:18 Apr 2017 11:50:13
President Donald Trump to sign executive order on reform of H-1B visa system
18 April 2017 Current Affairs:

U.S. President Donald Trump is set to sign an executive order that would tighten the process of issuing the H-1B visas and seek a review of the system for creating an “entirely new structure” for awarding these visas, the most sought-after by Indian IT firms and professionals.Mr. Trump is scheduled to travel to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the home state of House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan, to sign the ‘Buy American, Hire American’ Executive Order.This was a transitional step aimed at achieving a more skills-based and merit-based immigration system.The executive order would be signed a day after the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it has completed the computerised draw of lots from the 199,000 petitions it received for the Congressional mandated 65,000 H-1B visas for the fiscal year 2018 beginning October 1 this year.The lottery was held for the 20,000 H-1B visas for those applicants having higher education from US educational institutions.Opposing the traditional lottery system for H-1B visas, a senior administration official told White House reporters that these visas were being used by companies to bring in foreign workers at a low wage rate and displace local workers.The official argued that there were enough qualified people within the country to meet the demand of technology professionals.“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 issue of training workers for skilled manufacturing jobs is a different aspect of a policy then, say, the H—1B visa, which obviously is for STEM occupations,” the official said.The official argued that the reality was that the US has large numbers of unemployed American workers.“Right now we’re creating an environment with our guest-worker programmes where those workers are being bypassed,” the official said.“If you make it harder to abuse the guest-worker programmes, it creates more of a market for domestic workers, as well as more of a market for the kinds of job training and vocational training programmes that you’re talking about,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.Mr. Trump had made the alleged abuse and fraud in H-1B visa system a major election issue during his campaign.The executive order signed by Mr. Trump on Tuesday will call for the strict enforcement of all laws governing entry into the United States of labour from abroad, for the stated purpose of creating higher wages and higher employment rates for workers in America, the official said.The top three recipients of the H-1B visas, the official said, were Tata (TCS), Infosys and Cognizant.“Some companies oftentimes are called outsourcing firms.They’re like the top recipients of H-1B visa. You know, are companies like Tata (TCS), Infosys, Cognizant. They will apply for a very large number of visas; more than they get. Like putting extra tickets in the lottery raffle, if you will,” the official said.“And then they’ll get the lion’s share of visas,” the official said.As part of the executive order, the agencies have been asked to do everything they can, he said.“But you could be looking at things on the administration side like increasing fees for H-1B visas. You could be looking at things like if we could adjust the wage scale to have a more honest reflection of what the prevailing wages actually are in these fields,”


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