Donald Trump signs executive order against hiring H1B visa holders for federal contracts


Washington: President Donald Trump  (PTI Photo)

Washington: President Donald Trump (PTI Photo)

President Donald Trump on Monday signed an executive order restricting federal agencies from hiring foreign workers on H-1B visa.

The decision came after the federally-owned Tennessee Valley Authority’s (TVA) announced that it will outsource 20 per cent of its technology jobs to companies based in foreign countries. According to the US president, TVA’s action could cause more than 200 highly-skilled American tech workers in Tennessee to lose their jobs to low-wage, foreign workers hired on temporary work visas.

Outsourcing hundreds of workers is especially detrimental in the middle of a pandemic, which has already cost millions of Americans their jobs, the White House said in a statement.

Donald Trump, who is facing elections for his second term later this year, in June 23 suspended H-1B and L-1 visas along with other types of foreign work visas till December stating the move will protect American workers amidst the economic crisis due to the coronavirus pandemic. The new restrictions took effect from June 24.

“Today I am signing an executive order to ensure that the federal government lives by a very simple rule, higher American,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office of the White House before signing the order against hiring H1B visa holders for federal contracts.

Trump told reporters that his administration will not tolerate firing of hardworking Americans in the pursuit of cheap foreign labour.

“As we speak, we’re finalising 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 labour programmes and destroy American job, said the US president.

The new order will ensure Federal agencies prioritise hiring American workers and not people on an H-1B visa. The move is seen as a huge blow to Indian IT professionals who work on the US job on H-1B visa. The H-1B, which is a non-immigrant visa, allows companies in the US to hire foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise.

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 Labour will also finalise guidelines to prevent H-1B employers from moving H-1B workers to other employers’ job sites to displace Americans workers.