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'Buy American and hire American': Trump signs executive order to reform US immigration policies

18 April 2017 8:27 PM
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President Donald Trump has ordered federal agencies to look at tightening a temporary visa program used to bring high-skilled foreign workers to the United States, as he tries to carry out his campaign pledges to put "America First".

On Tuesday Trump signed an executive order on enforcing and reviewing the H-1B visa, popular in the technology industry, on a visit to the headquarters of Snap-On Inc, a tool manufacturer in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

In the document, known to the White House as the "Buy American and Hire American" order, Trump also seeks changes in government procurement that would boost purchases of American products in federal contracts, with one aim being to help US steelmakers.

The moves show Trump once again using his power to issue executive orders to try to fulfil promises he made last year in his election campaign, in this case to reform US immigration policies and encourage purchases of American products.

Senior officials gave few details on implementation of the order but Trump aides have expressed concern that most H-1B visas are awarded for lower-paid jobs at outsourcing firms, many based in India, which they say takes work away from Americans.

They seek a more merit-based way to give the visas to highly skilled workers.

"Right now, widespread abuse in our immigration system is allowing American workers of all backgrounds to be replaced by workers brought in from other countries," Trump said.

As he nears the 100-day benchmark of his presidency, Trump still has no major legislative achievements. With his attempts to overhaul healthcare and tax law not bearing fruit so far in a Congress controlled by his fellow Republicans, Trump has leaned heavily on executive orders to seek changes to the US economy.

The venue for Trump's visit on Tuesday is a nod to his voter base in the manufacturing centres of the American heartland.

Source: sbs.com.au

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