The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa, through which companies in the US are able to employ workers from abroad for special occupations requiring theoretical or technical expertise.
H-1B visas: Huge blow to Indian IT professionals! On Monday, President of the United States Donald Trump signed an order which prevents federal agencies from contracting or subcontracting workers from abroad, according to a report by news agency PTI. These foreign workers mainly include those on the much-talked-about H-1B visa. The move follows a June 23 suspension of H-1B and other types of foreign work visas. The suspension, which would last until 2020-end, has been aimed at protecting the American workers during the crucial election year and it came into force from June 24.
Through H-1B visa, companies in the US are able to employ workers from abroad for special occupations requiring theoretical or technical expertise.The visa provides much relief to the US-based technology companies, which hire tens of thousands of Indian and Chinese employees each year. This makes the visa highly popular among the IT professionals in India.
The PTI report stated that before signing the order, President Donald Trump told reporters that he would be signing an executive order that would ensure that the federal government would live by a “very simple rule” of “hire American”. He further stated that his administration would not “tolerate” that hard working Americans are fired in favour of cheaper labour from other countries.
He added that the administration is also finalising the regulation regarding the H-1B visa so that American workers are not replaced ever again. He further stated that the visa should be used to ensure that there is top highly paid talent which would create jobs in the US, and not as a programme to hire inexpensive labour and as a result destroy jobs for American workers themselves.
According to the order, the report stated, all federal agencies would have to complete an internal audit to assess whether they are complying with the requirement of only US nationals and citizens being appointed to the competitive service. The Department of Labour would also work on the guidelines that would prevent H-1B employers from moving foreign workers to the job sites of other employers to displace the workers from America.
The report stated that the order has come after the Tennessee Valley Authority, a federally owned agency, announced that 20% of its technology jobs would be outsourced to companies in foreign countries. Such an action by the authority, Trump was quoted as saying, could cause a job loss to over 200 highly skilled tech workers in America in favour of low-wage workers from other countries having temporary work visas.
In a statement, the White House further said that outsourcing hundreds of jobs to foreigners is especially detrimental to the American workers in the middle of the pandemic. The coronavirus pandemic has led to the job loss of millions of Americans.
It further added, as per PTI, that in the current situation of theft of intellectual property, a national security risk could also brew if IT jobs involving sensitive information were outsourced. The White House added that the actions taken by Trump would help in tackling the employers who are misusing this visa, which was never intended to replace American workers for inexpensive labour.
Trump was cited as saying that he was in favour of an immigration system that was based on merit and would bring in highly skilled people who could create jobs in the US for other American workers, instead of replacing them, as was currently the case.
He added that that there was shortly going to be a discussion on a “very, very comprehensive” immigration bill that would cover “just about everything” and it would be based on merit. He also said that the bill would be great for the worker as well as the people who would be coming into the country due to the new regulations.