Trump orders review of visa programme to encourage hiring Americans
By Steve Holland
KENOSHA, Wis. (Reuters) - President Donald Trump on Tuesday ordered a review of the U.S. visa programme for bringing high-skilled foreign workers into the country, putting technology firms and the outsourcing companies that serve them on notice that possible changes may be ahead.
Seeking to carry out a campaign pledge to put "America First," Trump signed an executive order on the H-1B visa programme. It was vague on many fronts, and did not change existing rules, but one objective, said Trump aides, is to modify or replace the current lottery for H-1B visas with a merit-based system that would restrict the visas to highly skilled workers. Indian nationals are the largest group of H-1B recipients annually.
Such a change could affect companies, such as Tata Consultancy Services Ltd (TCS.NS: Quote), Cognizant Tech Solutions Corp (CTSH.O: Quote) and Infosys Ltd (INFY.NS: Quote), that connect U.S. technology companies with thousands of foreign engineers and programmers. None responded to requests for comment.
Trump announced the order and made remarks at a visit to the headquarters of Snap-On Inc (SNA.N: Quote), a tool maker in Wisconsin.
In addition to addressing the visas issue, he also ordered a review of government procurement rules favouring American companies to see if they are actually benefiting, especially the U.S. steel industry.
"With this action, we are sending a powerful signal to the world: We're going to defend our workers, protect our jobs and finally put America first," Trump said.
Trump was a businessman before he was elected president last year, and his companies have been criticized for using visa programs to fill positions at Trump properties with foreign workers. Trump-branded products are also made overseas.