Trump order would target high skilled worker visa program


None of the three companies immediately responded to a request for comment.

Trump will sign the executive order during a trip Tuesday to Kenosha, Wisconsin, where he will tour the headquarters of Snap-on-Tools, a Wisconsin-based manufacturer, and deliver a speech about United States manufacturing.

He will also use what the White House called the "Buy American and Hire American" order to seek changes in government procurement that would boost purchases of American products in federal contracts, with one aim being to help US steelmakers.

Trump says the order sends a "powerful signal to the world" that the US will defend its workers, protect their jobs and put America first.

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

During his visit, the first to Wisconsin since President Trump became president, he vowed to stand behind manufacturers and touted the importance of projects being made in America - by Americans.

President Trump heads to Wisconsin this afternoon to pay a visit to a tool factory and the blue collar workers who helped win him the election.

Trump carried Wisconsin in November by almost 23,000 votes - less than 1 percentage point - making him the first Republican to win the state since 1984.

Specifically, the two-part order will direct the Departments of Labor, Justice, Homeland Security and State to review the H-1B visa program, which allows foreign workers to obtain employment in high-skilled "specialty occupations", and make recommendations that can be achieved through administrative or legislative changes.

Critics of the programme say most H-1B visas are awarded for lower-paid jobs at outsourcing firms, many based in India.

Noting that right now the H-1B visas were awarded by random lottery, the official said 80 % of H-1B workers were paid less than the median wage in their fields.

The H1-B visa program is meant to bring skilled workers in certain fields to the USA, but the administration contended that employers have abused the program to hire workers who will accept cheaper pay than Americans.

This was a transitional step aimed at achieving a more skills and merit based immigration system.

Ronil Hira, a professor in public policy at Howard University and a critic of the H-1B program, said Trump's planned order is "better than nothing". On a Tuesday phone call with reporters, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (N.Y.), said "the reality hasn't matched his rhetoric" because of what he characterized as Trump's unwillingness to work with Democrats on imposing rules that would require the procurement of US content for federally funded projects.

"For a president who has prided himself on his swift action when it comes to immigration, an interagency review of the programme is a guarded and timid approach". Dick Durbin, a Democrat from IL, and Sen. Congress introduced the H1-B visa in 1990 as a way to attract college-educated foreign talent, like scientists, doctors, and other graduate degree-holders, to America, and ultimately offer them a path to citizenship.

In addition to reforming the H-1B program, the official said Trump's order will call on a number of government agencies to clamp down on "fraud and abuse" in the immigration system in order to protect American workers.

This proposal aligns with Trump's H-1B rhetoric. He at first said the visas "decimate" American workers and depress US wages, but later seemed to flip-flop on the issue.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged Washington in February to be open minded on admitting skilled Indian workers.

The US president can not, by simple decree, change the number of visas allocated.