How will the overhaul of H-1B visas affect businesses?

20 April, 2017, 09:45 | Author: Oscar Goodwin

Speaking at the headquarters of Snap-on Tools in Kenosha, Trump singled out the H1-B visa program for "allowing American workers of all backgrounds to be replaced by workers brought in from other countries to fill the same job for sometimes less money". But it's not as straightforward as it sounds.

A majority of them work in the tech sector - some for US firms, others for Indian outsourcing companies such as Tata Consultancy Services and Infosys, who provide services for huge swathes of corporate America. Trump would need action from Congress for other potential changes to truly happen.

Here are five things health IT leaders should know.

Two administration officials previewed the orders for reporters on condition of anonymity because they didn't represent the agencies most directly involved in the policies.

Trump has also used his "buy American and hire American" premise to bring in changes in government procurement practices, reported The Guardian. It's unclear what those might look like, but the agencies have 150 days to respond.

Nationwide, demand for H-1B visas has outstripped supply.

The H-1B visa system has been criticised following high-profile examples of American workers being replaced by lower-paid foreigners through the program. This means the visas should not be granted to foreign workers who are simply willing to work for less than US workers.

One reason the program has been criticized is the rise of the outsourcing industry, a nascent business 30 years ago.

But the fact that it allows companies to pay foreign workers wages below industry averages is evidence, critics say, that it's actually being used to undercut American workers.

The order also targets NAFTA. As he nears the 100-day benchmark of his presidency, Trump has no major legislative achievements to tout but has used executive orders to seek regulatory changes to help the USA economy.

Senior US administration officials had earlier praised the executive order as a "historic step" that would help protect American manufacturers and American workers.

"I'm not concerned right this moment, but I am very concerned about what may come", says Tahmina Watson, whose Seattle-based firm Watson Immigration Law, represents companies and individuals. It makes it hard for entry-level computer programmers to get the work permit.

The order does nothing specifically to NAFTA for now, but a senior Trump administration official said the US will be doing analysis on the deal to see if it's meeting the "Trump standard of fairness and reciprocity". The commerce secretary will review how to close loopholes in existing rules and provide recommendations to the president. "Everyone in my administration will be expected to enforce every last Buy American provision on behalf of the American worker, and we are going to investigate every single trade deal that undermines these provisions", he said.

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