Executive order against hiring H-1B Visa holders for Federal contracts: What it means for Indian IT professionals

August 4, 2020 8:15 PM

The white house has gone on to say in a statement that outsourcing hundreds of workers in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic would be very detrimental.

Trump cited that the H-1B should only be used to hire and engage highly paid, highly talented people and should not be used as a tool to provide relatively inexpensive labour and thereby disrupt job opportunities for U.S. nationals.Trump cited that the H-1B should only be used to hire and engage highly paid, highly talented people and should not be used as a tool to provide relatively inexpensive labour and thereby disrupt job opportunities for U.S. nationals. (Representative image)

By Nandika Handa

A lot of people in IT and other professional fields are still reeling from the shock of the ban on H-1B visas, till this end of the year. The H-1B ban was announced by the Trump administration on the 23rd of June. In the face of this pandemic, we have seen numerous amendments and changes to immigration systems that seek to protect U.S jobs for U.S nationals.

In another move to secure U.S. jobs for U.S. nationals first- The President has now issued an executive order. This order states that all federal agencies are to complete an internal audit. The audit will state whether or not they are in compliance with the requirement that U.S nationals and U.S. citizens are the only ones to be appointed to the national service. This is aimed at preventing displacement of U.S. workers and securing jobs for them “First”. The order bans the hiring of H-1B visa holders for federal contracts and subcontracts too. Resulting from this the Department of Labour will also finalise guidelines to prevent H-1B employers from moving H-1B workers to other employers job sites that may cause displacement of American workers.

In the Oval Office of the White House, before signing the order against hiring H1B visa holders for federal contracts, Trump stated he was signing an executive order to ensure that the federal government goes by a very simple rule – to hire Americans.

Trump cited that the H-1B should only be used to hire and engage highly paid, highly talented people and should not be used as a tool to provide relatively inexpensive labour and thereby disrupt job opportunities for U.S. nationals.

The White House further cited, this move will help in curbing the misuse of H-1B visas; and that the purpose of these visas is not to provide low-cost foreign labour and thereby replace skilled and competent U.S. candidates.

President Trump’s announcement came immediately after the announcement made by TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority), citing that it plans to outsource 20% of its technology jobs to firms outside the U.S.A.

The president said that his government is working on finalising the H-1B regulation presently. The idea behind this would be that no American workers be replaced. He further mentioned that H-1B be used only for the top, highly paid talent and he doesn’t advocate these visas as an inexpensive labour programme leading to the destruction of jobs for Americans.

Present amongst him in the Cabinet Room, during his briefing were individuals campaigning against job outsourcing.

The white house has gone on to say in a statement that outsourcing hundreds of workers in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic would be very detrimental. It also added that with the current threat in the sphere of intellectual property this would also pose as a national security threat.

The president has also hinted many times at the upcoming merit-based immigration system. He said that they would be discussing very shortly, an immigration bill, which covers this merit-based concept and many others. He mentioned it would be a comprehensive bill and would cover most pertinent things that people may or may not like.

He has also hinted that it would be great for the workers and beneficial to those who come into the U.S. and want to help the people of the USA.

This latest move has caused a ripple in the world of those already deeply affected at many levels by all the changes that have taken shape in the U.S. immigration scenario, and the most recent statements by the President on the merit-based system have left many wondering “What else is to come?”.

(The author is an Independent Immigration Consultant. Views expressed are personal.)

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