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Donald Trump pushes for 'buy American, hire American'

21 April 2017, 02:15 | Darin Griffith

Trump visited the headquarters of tool manufacturer Snap-on Inc., and will later sign a an executive order that seeks to make changes to a visa program that brings in high-skilled workers.

Another review is aimed at rules governing visas issued to foreigners with certain skills that are in demand (H-1-B visas).

A majority of them work in the tech sector - some for USA firms, others for Indian outsourcing companies such as Tata Consultancy Services and Infosys, who provide services for huge swathes of corporate America.

The document also directed government institutions to review current procurement requirements and step up the effort to limit government purchase to US made goods.

"With this action, we're sending a powerful signal to the world and we're going to protect our jobs and finally put America first", said Trump.

H-1B visas admit 65,000 workers and another 20,000 graduate student workers each year, mainly in the tech sector.

Trump said the order would "aggressively promote and use American-made goods and to ensure that American labor is hired to do the job".

The new executive order may only reinforce the perception of the United States as unwelcome to people from other countries.

The order is more administrative in nature than a clear policy change. Indian IT giants like TCS, Infosys and Wipro are among the major beneficiaries of H-1B visas. The government procurement section did.

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Trump is heading to Kenosha on Tuesday, where he plans to sign an order dubbed "Buy American, Hire American", said administration officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity despite the president's frequent criticism of the use of anonymous sources.

There still aren't enough Americans to fill many of these jobs, which Trump implies could be done by Rust Belt workers with Trump University diplomas. "Simply reviewing the program is too little, too late", Senator Dick Durbin said after Trump signed a the order directing his administration to review the functioning of the system.

The officials also said that 80 percent of the H1-B visa petitioners who enter the U.S. under the current visa programme are paid less than the median wage workers in their field. "Workers are often brought in well below market rates to replace American workers", the official said. But Trump says companies exploit the system to the disadvantage of American workers.

Trump made it clear that he doesn't agree with fact that H-1Bs are now doled out under a lottery system. The visas are meant to go to foreign nationals in occupations that generally require specialised knowledge, such as science, engineering or computer programming.

President Trump has used the visa program to hire foreign workers at this properties for many years.

It instructs the agency to pay special attention to visas which should only go to highly paid, specially skilled applicants when there is a US deficiency.

"Right now H-1B visas are awarded in a totally random lottery and that's wrong".

The US president added that the visa program to bring in the best of the global workforce "should include only the most skilled and highest-paid applicants and should never ever be used to replace American workers".

It namely instructs the Labour, Justice and Homeland Security departments to tackle issues in the H-1B system and draw up reforms aimed at bringing the program back to its original intent: awarding visas to the most skilled and highly-paid applicants. Facebook did not respond to requests for comment. However, half of Snap-On's employees work outside the United States in foreign manufacturing plants.



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