New York: US President Donald Trump on Monday signed an executive order which now prevents federal agencies from contracting or subcontracting foreign workers (those on H-1B visa) from hiring. This is a huge blow for Indian IT professionals eyeing the US job market.
Earlier on June 23, Trump administration suspended the H-1B visas along with other types of foreign work visas till the end of 2020. This move was taken to protect American workers during the crucial election year. These new restrictions took effect from June 24.
Additionally, Indian IT-professionals usually seeks for the H-1B visa as it is a non-immigrant visa. This allows US companies to employ foreign workers in various specialty occupations which requires an ample amount of technical or theoretical expertise. Many tech companies even depend on it to hire thousands of employees each year from countries like China and India.
Before signing the order against hiring H-1B visa holders for federal contracts, Trump told the reporters in the Oval Office that he is signing the executive order to ensure that the federal government lives by a simple rule, “higher American.” He added that his administration will not tolerate the firing of hardworking American employees in the pursuit of cheap foreign labor. The president even added that H-1B should be used for top highly paid talent to create American jobs and not as inexpensive labor programs and destroy American jobs.
All federal agencies must do an internal audit and access whether they are in compliance with the requirement that only US citizens and nationals are appointed to the competitive service, as required by the executive order. This results in the Department of Labour to finalise the guidelines to prevent H-1B employers from moving H-1B workers to other employer’s job sites and displace American workers.
The US president’s order followed the announcement by the federally-owned Tennessee Valley Authority’s (TVA). According to the announcement, it will outsource 20 % of its tech jobs to companies based in foreign countries. This action by TVA will cause more than 200 highly-skilled American tech workers in Tennessee to lose their jobs. This will be because of low-wage foreign workers hired on temporary work visas.
The White House in a statement said that outsourcing hundreds of workers is especially detrimental in the middle of a pandemic. As this has already cost millions of Americans to lose their jobs. Additionally, due to the rampant intellectual property theft, outsourcing IT jobs that involve sensitive information would pose a national security risk. Trump’s actions will help combat the employers’ misuse of H-1B visas which were never intended to replace qualified American workers with low-cost foreign labor added to the White House.
During the signing of the order, a member present told trump that as many as 70% of the H-1b visa goes to people from India. To which the president said that he favors a merit-based immigration system which brig sin high-skilled people who create jobs inside the US and not take away jobs of Americans.