In a huge blow to South Asian IT professionals eyeing the US job market, President Donald Trump on Monday signed an executive order preventing federal agencies from contracting or subcontracting foreign workers – mainly those on H-1B visa – from hiring.
The move came over a month after the Trump administration on June 23rd suspended the H-1B visas along with other types of foreign work visas until the end of 2020 to protect American workers in a crucial election year. The new restrictions took effect from June 24th.
The H1-B visa, most sought-after among South Asian IT professionals, is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise.
The technology companies depend on it to hire tens of thousands of employees each year from countries like India and China.
“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 against hiring H1-B visa holders for federal contracts.
Trump told reporters that his administration will not tolerate the firing of hardworking Americans in the pursuit of cheap foreign labor.
“As we speak, we’re finalizing 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 labor programs and destroy American jobs,” said the president who was surrounded across the Cabinet Room table with individuals campaigning against job outsourcing.
Prominent among them were Sara Blackwell, founder and president of Florida-based Protect US Workers organization; Jonathan Hicks, a software engineer in the Tennessee Valley Authority; and Kevin Lynn, founder of Pennsylvania-based US Tech Workers.
The executive order requires all federal agencies to complete an internal audit and assess whether they are in compliance with the requirement that only US citizens and nationals are appointed to the competitive service. As a result, the Department of Labor will also finalize guidelines to prevent H-1B employers from moving H-1B workers to other employers’ job sites to displace American workers.
One of the participants present during the signing of the order told the president that as many as 70% of the H-1B visa goes to people from India, to which Trump said that, he favors a merit-based immigration system that brings in high-skilled people that creates jobs inside the US and not take jobs of Americans.
Not competent enough to sit idle and stare as the world goes by, Pallavi is optimistic to a fault and believes in building her world on her own rather than depending on others to make things right.