Trump order would target high skilled worker visa program

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President Donald Trump tours Snap-On Tools alongside Snap-On CEO Nick Pinchuk, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos in Kenosha, Wisc. on April 18, 2017, prior to signing the Buy American, Hire American Executive Order.

On Tuesday, Trump signed an executive order that directed federal agencies to implement a "Buy American, Hire American" strategy.

"We hope the goal of President Trump's executive order on the H-1B program is "mend it, don't end it", said Robert Atkinson, president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a major technology industry group". The agencies also would propose changes so that the visas are only given to "most-skilled or highest-paid applicants", an administration official told the AP.

Hannity then discussed the executive order with Trump Jr., who said his father has done more in the White House than Bush and Obama did in their first two months.

"We already know H-1B visa abuse hurts American workers".

During his campaign, Trump said he supported high-skilled visas but later came out against them. The visas are meant to go to foreign nationals in occupations that generally require specialised knowledge, such as science, engineering or computer programming.

"I am proud to stand with the President as he leads on prioritizing American workers and American products first".

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Critics of the programme have argued that the H-1Bs were being used by outsourcing firms to bring in low-skilled workers on low wages - who land up displacing Americans - and not the best and brightest as was originally envisioned.

"Right now, H-1B visas are awarded in a totally random lottery - and that's wrong", the president said during a speech in Wisconsin.

The order, which Trump signed after delivering his remarks, looks to bolster protections for certain American-made goods.

The current H-1B programme, which is lottery-based, allows a maximum of 65,000 visas for the general category and a further 20,000 for people who have a United States master's degree from an accredited institution. The H1-B and L1 work visas are majorly used by Indian IT professionals.

Demand for the current H-1B visa program is so high, a lottery system is now implemented, something of which Trump aims to revamp through a merit system. These visas allow roughly 85,000 immigrants to enter the United States each year, and most work in high-tech jobs, the New York Times reports. "It is clear that some companies have entirely built their business models around the H-1B visa programme which was not at all the intent".

It's unclear what exactly the four department heads (State, Justice, Labor and Homeland Security) will be able to accomplish administratively and what will need to be done through congressional legislation.

The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) said that while the announcement reflected the administration's desire to move towards reforms to the H-1B programme, there would be no immediate changes or impact on H-1B visas.

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