Trump targets H – 1B visas as companies use it to replace American workers with cheap foreign alternatives.
So, what did American corporations do when the laws they sponsored to make education less affordable and effective for Americans began to bear fruit in the form of less American graduates to employ? They made another law that allows them to import the graduates from other countries where education is more affordable and effective.
The law created in 1990 by Congress is called the H-1B visa law. The H-1B visa was created to help companies hire high skilled foreign workers when they cannot fill those roles domestically. The problem now is that some companies have figured out a way to use H-1B visas to replace American workers with foreigners willing to work for less, and this is where the Trump administration has decided to step in by signing an executive order that targets the H-1B program while also pushing for policies that will prioritize American made products.
“We’re taking a more vigorous stance in enforcing violations of the H-1B programme,” a senior Trump administration official said on Monday. “We want to make sure guest worker programmes don’t become a way of replacing American labour at less cost.”
It must be noted that tech companies, including Facebook and Microsoft, have championed the H-1B visa programme. Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates have long argued that the H-1B visas allow their companies to fill the tech talent shortage. What is not known is whether those two companies are among those that are bringing in foreign workers to work for less.
The White House did not share the order’s language, but a senior official said that the order will call on the Department of Labor, the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department to submit a list of administrative and legislative reforms that would take on abuse of the visa programme.
Other reports are saying that the administration could be looking to crack down on firms that outsource worker for entry level positions and pay them below market salaries or prioritising visa applicants with master’s degrees over those who hold bachelor’s degrees. The order may also look for an overhaul of the lottery system used to decide which companies are allowed to sponsor the visas, an official said.
Instead of ordering the changes directly, the order requires the three departments to suggest changes to curb abuse. USA Today reported that the directive will not have a direct effect on this year’s visa season, as that opened on 3 April. The H-2B seasonal worker visa, which Trump uses to staff his Palm Beach resort Mar-a-Lago, will not be affected.
The executive order will also tackle the waivers and exemptions agencies use to bypass procurement laws favouring American-made goods. The directive requires agency heads to sign off on those waivers and to decide whether foreign governments are using unfair trade practices when deciding on the lowest responsible bidder, USA Today reported.