Trump orders review of visa programme to encourage hiring Americans

Wed Apr 19, 2017 2:59am GMT
 

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.

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U.S. President Donald Trump speaks before signing an executive order directing federal agencies to recommend changes to a temporary visa program used to bring foreign workers to the United States to fill high-skilled jobs during a visit to the world headquarters of Snap-On Inc, a tool manufacturer, in Kenosha, Wisconsin, U.S., April 18, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
 
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