04 Aug 2020: Trump's new order on H-1B visa hiring setback for Indians
US President Donald Trump, a strong advocate of "America First," on Monday signed an executive order barring federal agencies from hiring foreign technology workers, mainly those on H-1B visas.
This move, seen as a huge blow to Indian professionals, comes more than a month after Trump suspended H-1B and other foreign visas till 2020 to protect the American task force, dismantled by the coronavirus pandemic.
What he said: Hire American, said Trump before signing order
Before signing the executive order, Trump told reporters at Oval Office, "Today I am signing an executive order to ensure that the federal government lives by a very simple rule. Hire American."
He said his administration was finalizing the H-1B regulation to ensure no American worker is replaced by foreign workers.
Those who opposed the outsourcing of jobs were present when Trump addressed the media.
Statement: H-1B visa can't be used to destroy American jobs: Trump
Moreover, Trump said the H-1B visa program should be used "for top highly paid talent to create American jobs, not as inexpensive labor programs and destroy American jobs."
Nearly 500,000 H-1B visa holders work in the US.
Order: Now, federal agencies will have to complete an internal audit
As per the fresh order, all federal agencies will have to perform an internal audit to assess whether they are abiding by the requirement that only "US citizens and nationals are appointed to the competitive service."
Eventually, the Department of Labor will also finalize rules preventing employers from moving H-1B workers to other sites to replace American workers, said reports.
Looking back: Notably, federal agency's decision to outsource jobs miffed Trump
The big order comes after federally-owned Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) announced in June that it would outsource 20% of its technology jobs to foreign countries. 200 American workers would have lost their jobs over the next five years as a result of this.
In fact, Trump, who had earlier called this decision "heartless and disastrous," removed TVA Chief Skip Thompson and another board member yesterday.
Details: Trump removed TVA chief for firing Americans
Trump, who reportedly doesn't have the authority to fire a CEO, said the new chief must not be paid more than $500,000 a year.
"Let this serve as a warning to any federally appointed board: If you betray American workers, you will hear two words: 'You're fired!'," he said.
However, defending the CEO's salary, Senator Lamar Alexander reminded that TVA doesn't take taxpayer's money.
Indians: Meanwhile, Trump said he is all for merit-based immigration system
When Trump signed the order, one of the attendees reminded him that Indians make up for 70% of H-1B visas issued.
Trump replied that he supports a"merit-based immigration system," which brings skilled people to the US who create jobs but was staunchly against foreign workers replacing Americans.
He also said an immigration bill that covers many such aspects is on the cards.
Fact: It will be a comprehensive bill: Trump
"It will be a very, very comprehensive bill. It's a word that some people love, and some people hate. But it would be very comprehensive only in the sense that it covered just about everything. It will be based on merit," Trump explained.