Monday, 26 June, 2017

Trump To Sign Order Directing Tighter Enforcement Of Foreign Work Visas

Connie Andrews | 19 April, 2017, 01:08

The administration's take is that an eventual overhaul would make employers prove that "the most highly skilled workers" are getting such visas, thereby dissuading industries from seeking what the White House characterizes as cheap labor.

It added that the executive order, however, is "another harbinger" of more aggressive oversight and enforcement of the H-1B visa programme.

India's IT software industry representative Nasscom believes that the new order will direct the federal bureaucracy to study more ways to reform and restrict the H-1B system.

The rules for H-1B applicants were already toughened recently. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged Washington in February to be open minded on admitting skilled Indian workers. Many of these jobs happen to be in tech. "The world of work has changed dramatically since the H-1B program was last reformed nearly 20 years ago".

The official called out Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys, and Cognizant for using the lottery system to bring in workers for entry-level positions, which he said has the effect of undercutting salary standards for USA workers. More than 15 per cent of Facebook's United States employees in 2016 used a temporary work visa, according to a Reuters analysis of Labour Department filings. Recipients can stay up to six years.

Last month, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) had said that it had operated in a self-imposed visa-constrained environment this year and had applied to get only about 15% of the visas for which it normally applies, according to The Economic Times report dated March 20.

By law, companies are required to pay at least the prevailing wage for that occupation. Numerous overseas workers are willing to work for as little as $60,000 annually, far less than $100,000-plus salaries typically paid to US technology workers.

The United States offers 85,000 H-1B visas every year, most of which are snapped up by Indian outsourcers whose employees fill a skill gap in U.S. engineering. The U.S. workers are sometimes asked to train their replacements to qualify for severance packages.

The long-standing confusion and speculation surrounding the H-1B visa program for foreign workers will finally be coming to an end on Tuesday i.e April 18.

Trump has spent seven of his first 13 weekends as president at Mar-a-Lago, the private club he owns in Palm Beach, Florida, even dining there with world leaders both in the formal dining room and on the deck amid other club members. "For those who aren't aware, Snap-on is a prime example of a company that builds American-made tools, with American workers for US taxpayers". Although the memo doesn't have the force of law and is merely intended as guidance for employees reviewing individual cases, it could make it more hard for entry-level workers to get approved. An administration official claimed that the "lion's share" of the visas are presently used for "entry-level positions". Trump wants individual departments in his administration to come up with proposals.

"One should not mistake PR for policy", Bruce Morrison, a former Democratic member of Congress turned lobbyist for IT workers, told Wired. It could, for instance, give priority to employers who rely less heavily on holders of H-1B visas. The executive order would be signed a day after the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it has completed the computerised draw of lots from the 199,000 petitions it received for the Congressional mandated 65,000 H-1B visas for the fiscal year 2018 beginning October 1 this year.

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