US President Donald Trump signs an executive order to try to bring jobs back to American workers and revamp the H-1B visa guest worker program during a visit to the headquarters of tool manufacturer Snap-On on April 18, 2017 in Kenosha, Wisconsin. (Photo by AFP)
US President Donald Trump has signed an executive order, targeting foreign workers in high-skilled positions by restricting visa rules.
Delivering on a presidential campaign pledge dubbed as “Buy American, Hire American”, Trump signed the executive order on Tuesday, seeking to make changes to a visa program that brings in high-skilled workers to the United States.
The order purportedly calls for changing H-1B visas, which are popular among energy technology industries, making it harder for technology companies to recruit low-wage workers from foreign countries and undercut Americans looking for jobs.
The US president said the order aims to “aggressively promote and use American-made goods and to ensure that American labor is hired to do the job,” adding that the move was in line with his plans to put “America First.”
Senior US administration officials had earlier praised the executive order as a “historic step” that would help protect American manufacturers and American workers.
Voicing immediate reservations about the decree, the US Chamber of Commerce, however, warned the Trump administration not to do away with the whole H-1B scheme, also acknowledging that there was room for improving the program.
“It would be a mistake to close the door on high-skilled workers from around the world who can contribute to American businesses’ growth and expansion and make the US more competitive around the world,” the business lobby said in a statement.
The latest executive order comes at a time when the businessman-turned-politician is nearing his 100th day in office, looking to regain momentum on the domestic front after his flagship travel ban was blocked in court and his vaunted health reform foundered in Congress.
Trump stunned the world on November 8 last year by defeating his heavily favored Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, in the presidential election, sending the United States on a new and uncertain path.
Trump’s election campaign had been marred by his disparaging remarks against minorities in the US, including a call to ban all Muslims from coming to America as well as stopping Mexican migrants by building a long wall along the US-Mexico border.
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