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High-skills visa applications drop ahead of Trump move to limit program

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Acting on his election promise to reform the H-1B visa system, US President Donald Trump on Tuesday signed an executive order for tightening the programme.

When President Donald Trump signed an executive order Tuesday in Kenosha, Wisconsin, he sent a characteristically blunt message. The U.S. tech industry's need for skilled workers is only "accelerating because of intense competition", he told CNNMoney on Wednesday.

The tech industry says companies have trouble filling positions with American workers and must turn to other countries through this programme.

The Trump administration says more of the jobs performed by those people could and should be filled by Americans.

According to Reuters, Senator Dick Durbin-who worked with Grassley on H-1B reform-said: "For a president who has prided himself on his swift action when it comes to immigration, an interagency review of the programme is a guarded and timid approach".

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The order also calls for more federal construction projects to use American-made products. Now it may try to change the existing way the government defines wage, hiring rules to support its Hire American plan. Specifically, they would look into whether waivers in free-trade agreements are leading to unfair trade by companies outside the US and whether it undercuts American companies on a global playing field. The waivers could be renegotiated or revoked if they are not perceived as benefiting the United States.

The trip brings Trump to the congressional district of House Speaker Paul Ryan, but he is out of the country on a congressional trip.

Trump's "buy American" stance was a key part of his campaign for the White House.

Companies brace for impactTech companies have been bracing for Trump to make changes to the H1B program. Universities and other nonprofit or governmental research organizations are exempt from the cap on new H-1B visas, which are otherwise limited to 85,000 per year. But those workers are hired using the H-2B visa for temporary non-agricultural workers. While Ivanka Trump no longer runs the company, she remains the owner and profits from it. Ivanka Trump-branded clothes continue to be made in China. The additional scrutiny DHS has ordered will include "site visits" to determine whether "H-1B dependent employers are evading their obligation to make a good faith effort to recruit USA workers", the Trump administration says.

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