Trump signed the order that calls for tightening the rules of the programme at the Kenosha, Wisconsin, headquarters of tool maker Snap-on Inc on Tuesday.
Snap-on makes hand and power tools, diagnostics software, information and management systems and shop equipment for use in agriculture, the military and aviation.
Officials also said government procurement portions of existing trade agreements would be reviewed to see whether USA companies get the same chance to sell products to the governments of US trading partners that foreign firms get in Washington.
The H-1B visa program has its place – helping companies throughout the country, but particularly in Silicon Valley, fill jobs for which the supply of American workers is thin.
As Trump’s presidency nears the symbolic 100-day mark, the 70-year-old leader is looking to regain momentum on the domestic front after his flagship travel ban was blocked in court, and his vaunted health reform foundered in Congress. By November, they must report their findings and recommend ways to strengthen Buy American requirements.
“We are sending a powerful signal to the word we are going to defend our workers, protect our jobs and finally put America first”, Trump said just before signing the order on a visit to a Wisconsin manufacturing plant.
As a result, Gibbs said investors should dial back expectations that Trump will do anything meaningful on trade, or on infrastructure which is where such an order could make a difference. In this case, the reports are about granting visas for highly skilled foreign workers and ensuring that government purchasing programs buy American made goods as required by law. If Secretary Ross and the USTR find that the United States’ trading partners are not meeting their commitments, the Administration could use those findings as grounds to renegotiate or revoke the waivers now available under FTAs.
The document will bring in major changes regarding the H1B visa program, including closing loopholes for immigration fraud and a shift from the current lottery system to a mechanism that favours higher paid and higher skilled workers.
“While Indians have been the biggest beneficiaries of H-1B visas, the expected change of substantial increase in minimum salary level might force the IT companies to take away U.S. jobs elsewhere to countries like India”.
Not only this, but applications for H-1B visa fell for the first in five years.
There have been several bills introduced in recent months to reform the H-1B visa system, including a bipartisan bill from Senators Chuck Grassley and Dick Durbin who have been pushing to revamp the program for years.
According to data by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services, employers submitted 199,000 visa applications against 236,000 applications past year.
According to multiple senior officials and the White House Office of the Press Secretary, the executive order is set up in two parts, “Buy American” and ‘Hire American’.
The H-1B visa program is governed by statutes and regulations.
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.
NASSCOM president R Chandrashekhar said the body was against selective targetting of Indian companies, which account for only “20 per cent” of the visas.
The US tech industry and corporate sector, however, has welcomed the “much-needed” review of the H-1B visa programme and expressed confidence that it would help them bring in the best and the brightest from across the world.