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Trump's H-1B Executive Order Highlights Wisconsin Tech Worker Shortage

20 April 2017, 08:18 | Anna Nguyen

Mr Pai sees Trump's executive order coming into force from next year.

It does say there should be reform for the H1-B visa system that companies use to hire skilled foreign workers, but even that doesn't take immediate action. "Instead, they should be given to the most skilled and highest-paid applicants, and they should never, ever be used to replace Americans", the US President asserted.

Senior administration officials say that the order will also strengthen rules that bar foreign contractors from bidding on federal government projects. In the past, Trump has been known to hire low-skill foreign workers at a low cost for his Florida resort Mar-a-Lago under a complete separate visa system.

There is no direct action to effect in this direction, but there is an invitation for reform proposals from United States agencies in view of the programme. India's National Association of Software and Services even told the Times that the H-1B visa program only exists because the U.S. is constantly short on high-skilled IT talent. Now it may try to change the existing way the government defines wage, hiring rules to support its Hire American plan. "No one can compete with American workers when they're given a fair and level playing field, which has not happened for decades", according to him.

The Trump administration has so far only called for a review of the H-1B program without proposing any concrete changes.

The United States grants 85,000 H-1B temporary visas to high-skilled foreigners every year - 65,000 hired from overseas and 20,000 from those enrolled in USA colleges.

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The White House said the programme undercuts American workers by bringing in large numbers of cheaper foreign workers, which drives down U.S. wages.

"The current campaign to discredit our sector is driven by persistent myths, such as the ideas that H-1B visa holders are "cheap labor" and "displace American workers" who 'train their replacements, ' none of which is accurate", the Indian industry association said.

Potential changes could be administrative or legislative and could include higher fees for the visas, changing the wage scale for the program or other initiatives. Workers in the USA and United States workers are defined as either U.S. citizens or foreign nationals who have permanent residency, seek asylum, have been granted refuge or those who have been authorised to work.

Technology companies have been highly resistant to the move, stating the H-1B program is needed to ensure the sector is open to attract the highest possible talent, which will ensure economic growth.

"They are going against it because they want to protect their own interests, and that's scary", Trump Jr. said.

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