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Here's how the H-1B visa program works
20 April 2017, 09:54 | Gladys Abbott
But it's not as straightforward as it sounds.
The moves show Trump once again using his power to issue executive orders to try to fulfill promises he made a year ago in his election campaign, in this case to reform U.S. immigration policies and encourage purchases of American products.
Since the early days of Trump's campaign, he has been vocal about his stance on the visa program, constantly saying that it's a threat to the American labor force.
It was unclear whether the latest such order would yield immediate results.
Now he says an executive order is putting American workers first. In other words, nothing is happening immediately.
Changing the H-1B visa system was one of the election promises of Trump. "Instead, they should be given to the most skilled and highest paid applicants and they should never ever be used to replace Americans", said the United States president in Wisconsin.
On Monday, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services had said that employers who sought visas for 2018 submitted only 199,000 applications this year, compared to last year's 236,000 applications. Trump wants to tighten some of the rules in the program to "prevent fraud or abuse".
Critics of the programme have argued that the H-1Bs were being used by outsourcing firms to bring in low-skilled workers on low wages - who land up displacing Americans - and not the best and brightest as was originally envisioned. "And so it's a very elegant of way of solving very systemic problems in the H-1B guest worker visa", the official said.
The order also targets NAFTA.
While the programme itself and the number caps are determined by the U.S. Congress, its administration is an executive function. Trump signed the order after visiting a tool factory at Kenosha, Wisconsin, in the Chicago-Milwaukee industrial corridor.
"The fact is, NAFTA has been a disaster for the United States - a complete and total disaster", he said.
The US president can not, by simple decree, change the number of visas allocated.
The executive order calls for a 220-day review period by agency heads to figure out where they can make the changes necessary to comply, so there will be no change to existing rules for several months. Trump asked a supportive crowd at the headquarters of Snap-on.
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