Making skill based immigration system in the United States, President Donald Trump is all set to sign an executive order that would tighten the process of issuing the H-1B visas and seek a review of the system for creating an “entirely new structure” for awarding these visas, the most sought-after by Indian IT firms and professionals.
Trump is scheduled to travel to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the home state of House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan, to sign the ‘Buy American, Hire American’ Executive Order.
This was a transitional step aimed at achieving a more skills-based and merit-based immigration system.
The executive order would be signed a day after the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it has completed the computerised draw of lots from the 199,000 petitions it received for the Congressional mandated 65,000 H-1B visas for the fiscal year 2018 beginning October 1 this year.
The lottery was held for the 20,000 H-1B visas for those applicants having higher education from US educational institutions.
Opposing the traditional lottery system for H-1B visas, a senior administration official told White House reporters that these visas were being used by companies to bring in foreign workers at a low wage rate and displace local workers.
The official argued that there were enough qualified people within the country to meet the demand of technology professionals.
“With respect to the H-1B visa programme in particular, which deals mostly with STEM jobs, we graduate about twice as many STEM students each year as find jobs in STEM fields.
“The issue of training workers for skilled manufacturing jobs is a different aspect of a policy then, say, the H-1B visa, which obviously is for STEM occupations,” the official said.
The official argued that the reality was that the US has large numbers of unemployed American workers.
“Right now we’re creating an environment with our guest-worker programmes where those workers are being bypassed,” the official said.
“If you make it harder to abuse the guest-worker programmes, it creates more of a market for domestic workers, as well as more of a market for the kinds of job training and vocational training programmes that you’re talking about,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Trump had made the alleged abuse and fraud in H-1B visa system a major election issue during his campaign.