Trump to sign executive order seeking to overhaul the H-1B visa program

H-1B visa
H-1B visa

President Donald Trump is seeking for changes in the H-1B visa program that is used to bring foreign workers into the US to fill high-skilled jobs.

Trump is expected to sign an executive order which will ask federal agencies to look into the temporary program and is expected to “the strict enforcement of all laws governing entry into the United States of labor from abroad for the stated purpose of creating higher wages and higher employment rates for workers in the United States,”

The order will call on the departments of Labor, Justice, Homeland Security and State to crack down on what White House officials call “fraud and abuse” in the U.S. immigration system to protect American workers.

H-1B  visas are used to bring in foreign workers with “specialty” occupations which include scientists, engineers or computer  programmers. 65,000 visas are issued through a lottery and a further 20,000 are randomly distrusted to graduate student workers.

According to United Sates Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), there was a significant decrease in number of H-1B  visa applications with 199,000 applying this year compared to 236,000 in 2016.

The visas have particularly enabled tech companies to acquire top talent not available in the US. 15% of Facebook’s work force is on H-1B visas.

Trump is also expected to use the order to push for “buy American” which is meant to seek changes in government procurement practices and seeks to increase use of American products in federal contracts.

The order is in line with Trumps pledge to put “America first” and comes at a time when he has no legislative accomplishments to tout as his 100 days benchmark approaches. Most of his achievements have been through executive orders.

However, the confirmation of his Supreme Court pick Neil Gorsuch offers him a token win in his first 100 days though it too Senate Republican using to nuclear option to achieve the feat.

He is expected to sign the order during  his visit to the world headquarters of Snap-On Inc, a tool manufacturer in Kenosha, Wisconsin.