Trump targets foreign worker visa scheme

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The moves show Mr Trump once again using his power to issue executive orders to try to fulfil promises he made previous year in his election campaign, in this case to reform USA immigration policies and encourage purchases of American products.

On Tuesday, Trump signed an executive order that directed federal agencies to implement a "Buy American, Hire American" strategy. Many go to technology companies, which argue that the U.S. has a shortage of skilled technology workers. The "Buy American, Hire American" executive order will also put forward policies to protect American goods.

It's unclear how the program may change, but India's huge tech industry says America still has a shortage of skilled workers that the H-1B system was created to ease.

Tom Gilding, a retired high school teacher who was among the protesters, said Trump's decision not to release his taxes shows a lack of transparency in his administration.

"Hitherto, many Indians obtained H-1B visas through various methods to join bogus companies". For example, replacing the H-1B lottery with a more merit-based system could advance the programme's goals of attracting people with advanced STEM skills. The tech industry has argued that the H-1B program is needed because it encourages students to stay in the US after getting degrees in high-tech specialties — and because companies can't always find enough American workers with the skills they need.

Trump signed an executive order on enforcing and reviewing the H-1B visa, popular in the technology industry.

Trump will sign the order in Wisconsin, a state he won last November with an appeal to blue-collar workers and a promise to revive manufacturing jobs.

The administration's goal is to ensure such visas are given to the most qualified or highest-paid applicant, according to two senior officials.

According to Kishore Kumar Kovuru, a software engineer who returned to India after working in the USA for a decade, Indians who were getting extension of H-1B visa every two years might find it hard now.

Attorney Sara Blackwell, who advocates for American workers replaced by foreigner visa holders, said she's "hopeful". "It would be extremely detrimental to our industry if things like the H-1B visas were taken away".

Senator Chuck Grassley, an author of legislation to reform the H-1B and L-1 skilled work visa programs, said it is time to take action against the abuse of H-1B visa system.

About 85,000 H-1B visas are distributed annually by lottery. Critics of the program claim staffing companies are undercutting American wages by using the visas to recruit foreign labor and then contracting those workers to large companies.

What's more, the executive orders will also require federal agencies to review and minimise the use of waivers and exceptions in global trade agreements.