Trump signs order for firms to 'Buy American, Hire American'

The order is an attempt by Trump to carry out his "America First" campaign pledges to reform USA immigration policies and encourage purchases of American products.

US President Donald Trump has signed an executive order that seeks to make changes to a visa programme that brings in highly skilled workers. The president called the order "bold new steps" toward making good on his campaign promises to generate more jobs for out-of-work Americans.

Trump and other critics of the program say it is abused by those Indian firms, who - they claim - flood the visa lottery with applications and then send workers to the US on salaries that undercut their American counterparts.

On Tuesday President Trump signed an executive order meant to reform certain work visa programs in an effort to bolster jobs for Americans.

Critics of the program say most H-1B visas are awarded for lower-paid jobs at outsourcing firms, many based in India.

"We hope the goal of President Trump's executive order on the H-1B program is "mend it, don't end it", said Robert Atkinson, president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a major technology industry group".

The new executive order, of course, leaves the H-2B visa system and application process completely unchanged.

Both Democratic and Republican critics have argued that companies such as Walt Disney Co (DIS.N) and Southern California Edison Co (SCE_pe.A), a utility, have used the program to terminate in-house IT employees and replace them with cheaper contractors.

The US tech industry and corporate sector, however, has welcomed the "much-needed" review of the H-1B visa programme and expressed confidence that it would help them bring in the best and the brightest from across the world. The waivers could be renegotiated or revoked if they are not perceived as benefiting the United States.

Meanwhile, some USA lawmakers said the executive order signed by Trump calling for a review of H-1B visas was too little and too late.

"Wage levels? Set by Congress. H-1B lottery system?"

Many Silicon Valley tech companies support the H-1B visa program and will monitor the review the administration has proposed closely.

White House said the order "calls on the executive branch to fully enforce the laws governing the entry of foreign workers into the US economy, to promote rising wages and more employment". Take his pledge to crack down on H-1B visas.

Current rules associated with America's trade deals and immigration policies unfairly place American companies and workers at a disadvantage.

Lottery funds more than 65,000 H1-B applications each year with another 20,000 handed out to graduate student workers.

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