A report from Washington, DC, suggest that President Donald Trump is about to sign yet another executive order disadvantageous to the Silicon Valley. According to Bloomberg, Trump will sign an executive order that will overhaul the current H-1B visa program.
The report about the H-1B reform draft comes just days after Trump signed the executive order banning people of seven Muslim countries from entering the United States of America. The move was forcefully denounced by IT companies like Google, Facebook, Salesforce and Microsoft, among others, who asked their foreign workers to return to the US, immediately.
Now, Trump’s plan to rewrite the H-1B visa norms will further strain his relationship with the Silicon Valley as most of the IT companies heavily rely on the work visa program that brings thousands of foreign workers to the United States every year.
Trump, who campaigned and won with his America First slogan, is expected to make reforms that could hurt the American IT firms including Microsoft, Amazon, and Apple from hiring workers through Indian companies such as Infosys and Wipro. If the reforms are implemented it could also adversely affect the Indian IT companies as more priority will be given to Americans.
A copy of the draft accessed by Bloomberg says, “Our country’s immigration policies should be designed and implemented to serve, first and foremost, the U.S. national interest. 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.”
The move comes at a time when a number of congressmen have introduced bills proposing immigration reforms. Earlier this month, Rep. Zoe Lofgren, a Democratic representative from California, introduced a bill to increase the wages and to tighten the norms for H-1B visa program.
California Republican Darrell Issa re-introduced a bill aimed at cracking down on the H-1B visa abuse by making major amendments to the existing program, allowing only highly skilled foreign employees work in the US.
“My legislation refocuses the H-1B program to its original intent – to seek out and find the best and brightest from around the world, and to supplement the U.S. workforce with talented, highly-paid, and highly-skilled workers,” Lofgren said in a statement.
“In order for America to lead again, we need to ensure we can retain the world’s best and brightest talent. At the same time, we also need to make sure programs are not abused to allow companies to outsource and hire cheap foreign labor from abroad to replace American workers,” Issa said. “The legislation we’re introducing today does both. It will ensure that our valuable high-skilled immigration spots are used by companies when the positions cannot be filled by the existing workforce.”
The official statement of Issa added: “The legislation would help close a loophole in the nation’s high-skilled immigration system being used by these companies to bring in cheaper foreign labor from abroad.”
Bloomberg also reported that the draft, which is yet to be signed by Trump, will also impact the L-1, E-2, and B1 visa holders.
According to statistics, in the last few years, outsourcing firms have been the most successful in obtaining H-1B visas and the IT companies have struggled to fill their H-1B positions. Indian outsourcing companies, led by Tata Consultancy Services Ltd, Infosys, and Wipro have got the most H-1B visas during the last years.
According to experts, if Trump signs the executive order to clamp down H-1B visa, Indian IT companies will definitely face the heat and will see its expenses rising. Some also suggest that companies like Infosys, TCS, and Wipro might have to start thinking about offering new kinds of services such as cloud computing and artificial intelligence.