President Donald Trump is preparing an executive order aimed at revamping the H-1b visa program to ensure tech companies make a good faith effort to hire American workers before importing foreign workers.
The stated purpose of the H-1b program is to allow companies to temporarily import high-skilled workers when they can’t find American workers willing or able to do the job, but critics contend its true purpose is to help big businesses cut costs by importing less expensive workers. In the past several years, Disney, Southern California Edison, Fossil Group and others have together fired hundreds of American tech workers and forced them to train their foreign replacements, many of whom were flown in specifically to take their jobs.
A major overhaul to the program would have to happen through Congress, but Trump can make some changes via executive authority, and his administration is drafting an order, reports Bloomberg. Tech companies would have to prioritize American workers first under the draft order, and if they do import foreign workers, they would have to prioritize those who are the most skilled and highest paid.
“Our country’s immigration policies should be designed and implemented to serve, first and foremost, the U.S. national interest,” a draft reviewed by Bloomberg reads. “Visa programs for foreign workers … should be administered in a manner that protects the civil rights of American workers and current lawful residents, and that prioritizes the protection of American workers — our forgotten working people — and the jobs they hold.”
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