Published: Thu, April 20, 2017
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Nasscom cautions over revamp of lottery system for H-1B visas

When President Donald Trump signed an executive order Tuesday in Kenosha, Wisconsin, he sent a characteristically blunt message. He has already signed a number of executive orders since he took office, including the decision to ban travelers from some majority-Muslim nations.

The visa portion singles out the H1-B visa programme created to bring in skilled workers and often used by technology companies.

The order will also see a shift away from a lottery system to decide which workers receive the 85,000 annual visas, with preference now being given to those that are better-qualified.

Throughout his election campaign, Trump pushed the "Buy American, hire American" maxim and prefers to move towards a merit-based visa system, which only encourages the most-talented workers from overseas to come.

President Trump had promised in his election campaign that he will stop foreign workers from entering and working in the U.S., and it seems, the first concrete step has already been taken.

"The more attention the new president pays to world stage including North Korea and Syria, the less chance there is of a reflated America".

The executive order also declares that American projects should be made with American goods.

"The reality is that 70 per cent of H-1B visas issue do go to Indian nationals but Indian companies get less than 20 per cent of the visas".

The order asked government bodies to review and minimize the use of waivers and exceptions to "Buy American" policies, and assess the degree to which waivers included in free trade deals have hurt American workers.

The senior official said the end result of how the system now works is that foreign workers are often brought in at less pay to replace American workers, "violating the principle of the program".

The administration says the visas, which can be renewed once, have contributed to a slide in American wages; 80 percent of H1-B visa holders are paid less than the median wage in their fields. Items from the Trump Home Collection - made in China.

Mr. Trump told Garrett past year that during the Palm Beach social season, qualified workers willing to take up a part-time gig are hard to come by because Americans want full-time jobs. His businesses also have hired foreign workers, including at his Palm Beach, Fla., club. "And we should end it".

Reforming the H-1B visa system was one of the major election promises of Trump. The staffing companies then sell their services to corporate clients.

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. USA workers are sometimes asked to train their replacements to qualify for severance packages. But he added, "It's not as aggressive as it needs to be".

What's an H-1B visa?

"They are going against it because they want to protect their own interests, and that's scary", Trump Jr. said. "Companies would go offshore, like Microsoft did with Vancouver, Canada", to seek talent. This year, the New York Times documented how applications arrived by the truckload.

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