In Blow to Indian Professionals, Trump Signs New H-1B Visa Order

A new executive order prevents federal agencies from hiring or sub-contracting foreigners on an H-1B visa.

2 min read
File image of US President Donald Trump.

United States President Donald Trump has signed a new executive order that prevents federal agencies from hiring or sub-contracting foreigners, predominantly on an H-1B visa.

This comes as a huge blow to Indian IT professionals who mostly travel to work in the US on the H-1B visa, which allows US companies to employ foreign workers in occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise.

This new order comes barely a month after the Trump-led US government suspended H-1B visas along with other foreign works visas until the end of 2020. The restrictions came into effect from 24 June.

"Today I am signing an executive order to ensure that the federal government lives by a very simple rule, hire American," Trump told reporters in the Oval Office of the White House before signing the order, reported news agency PTI.

He further said that his administration will not "tolerate firing of hardworking Americans in the pursuit of cheap foreign labour."

"As we speak, we're finalising the H-1B regulation so that no American workers be replaced ever again. H-1B should be used for top highly paid talent to create American jobs, not as inexpensive labour programmes and destroy American job", Trump said.

The order asks all federal agencies to conduct an internal audit and assess whether they are in compliance with the order, which states that only US nationals can be appointed to competitive services.

The Department of Labour will also create guidelines which will prevent H-1B employers from moving their H-1B visa-holding workers to other job sites which may lead to American workers being displaced.

One of the participants present during the signing of the order said that almost 70 percent of H-1B visas go to Indians. The President, during the signing, also said that he was looking a "merit-based" immigration system.

"We are going to be discussing very shortly an immigration bill, which covers this and many other things. It will be a very, very comprehensive bill. It's a word that some people love, and some people hate. But it'd be very comprehensive only in the sense that it covered just about everything. It will be based on merit. It will cover territory that nobody would have thought could have ever been agreed to", Trump said.

(With inputs from PTI)

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