Trump signs executive order while visiting Wisconsin

Modesto Morganelli
Aprile 19, 2017

You may wonder, What does this have to do with Trump's crackdown on visas for high-skilled foreign workers? President Donald Trump heads to Ryan's congressional district in Wisconsin on Tuesday.

It was vague on many fronts, and did not change existing rules, but one objective, said Trump aides, is to modify or replace the current lottery for H-1B visas with a merit-based system that would restrict the visas to highly skilled workers. "I'm grateful that President Trump has taken my suggestions to heart by taking steps today to protect American workers and preserve limited H-1B visas for truly qualified, high-skilled foreign workers", he added.

The Indian outsourcers, which generally pay lower wages and operate in a different part of the technology ecosystem, say they are helping USA companies cut spending on certain basic services so they can keep employing higher-paid workers in other parts of their businesses.

The order asked government bodies to review and minimize the use of waivers and exceptions to "Buy American" policies, and assess the degree to which waivers included in free trade deals have hurt American workers. The administration said that if the waivers are not benefiting the United States they will be "renegotiated or revoked".

“No one can compete with American workers when they are given a fair and level playing field, which has not happened for decades, ” he said. "And we should end it".

The US Chamber of Commerce voiced immediate reservations: While it agreed there was room for improvement of the H-1B program, it warned the Trump administration not to do away with it altogether. Numerous overseas workers are willing to work for as little as $60,000 annually, far less than $100,000-plus salaries typically paid to USA technology workers.

Some argue that technology companies abuse the H-1B visa program, seeking to acquire cheap labor. In some cases, outsourcing firms flood the system with applicants, obtaining visas for foreign workers and then contracting them out to tech companies.

Employers, including Walt Disney World and the University of California, San Francisco, have laid off tech employees and replaced them with H-1B visa holders.

Trump said he hopes his new executive order puts a stop to this.

If the H-1B program is restricted, skilled foreign workers would have to remain in their native countries, says Shika Bhatnagar.

Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., a member of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, said H-1B visas should be given based on the economic need of the country at a particular time.

H-1B visas are for foreigners in "speciality" occupations that generally require higher education, which include scientists, engineers or computer programmers.

Outside the venue, hundreds of protesters called on Trump to release his tax returns while they waited for the Republican to arrive at the Wisconsin manufacturing company.

President Trump speaks to auto workers at American Center for Mobility in Ypsilanti, Michigan on March 15, 2017. White House spokesman Sean Spicer said Trump wanted to visit "a company that builds American-made tools with American workers".

The president is to sign the directive at Snap-on Kenosha, Wisconsin, a state he narrowly carried in November on the strength of support from white, working class voters.

His promise of returning manufacturing jobs to the USA resonated with voters such as Chris Manoyan, 54, who joined the crowd of about a hundred Trump supporters gathered across the street from Snap-on while Trump was inside.

Snap-on makes hand and power tools, diagnostics software, information and management systems and shop equipment for use in agriculture, the military and aviation.

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