Trump's visa changes could favor more skilled, higher wage workers

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US President Donald Trump recently signed an executive order to bring about changes in the H1-B visa system which employed high-skilled workers from foreign countries, including India.

He signed the order during a visit to the headquarters of Snap-On Inc, a tool manufacturer in Kenosha, Wisconsin, saying that H-1B visas should "never be used to replace Americans", adding that "we are about to take bold new steps to follow through on my pledge to buy American and hire American".

The order prods the Justice Department and other federal agencies to propose reforms to ensure H-1B visas are awarded to the most-skilled or highest-paid foreign applicant.

Instead, on Tuesday, Trump signed the executive order named "Buy American and Hire American" in which he directed the USA secretary of state, attorney general, secretary of labor and secretary of homeland security "to suggest reforms to help ensure that H-1B visas are awarded to the most-skilled or highest-paid beneficiaries".

The Indian IT industry, however, he said, was capable of transforming itself to the extent needed on these shifts. India has reportedly dragged, not only the United States but also Australia and New Zealand to the WTO regarding the new nationalistic policies on the movement of foreign professionals. The programme will be replaced by another visa programme with new restrictions.

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Indian IT companies have been accused of misusing the H-1B visa regime, which they have consistently denied.

Infosys, India's second-largest IT company, said it continues "to invest in the local communities in which we operate, including hiring local American top talent, bringing education and training to our clients to shrink the skills gap in the U.S., and working with policymakers to foster innovation within states and across the country".

"We are an immigration nation, but the fact remains: Australian workers must have priority for Australian jobs, so we are abolishing the 457 visa, the visa that brings temporary foreign workers into our country", said Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

"It is not an immigration matter as we have said earlier, it is basically a trade and services issue", External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay said in his weekly media briefing.

He said visa issue will be part of the India's talks with the countries where changes in visa programme have been made which are impacting Indian professionals.