Trump signs 'Buy American, Hire American' order

The "Buy American - Hire American" order Trump signed Tuesday also includes provisions directing federal agencies to tighten enforcement of laws granting preferences to US -made goods in federal purchasing, which Trump said had been "gutted" by waivers and exceptions. The first, "Buy American", will tinker with certain rules the government uses when procuring goods and services.

Mr Trump announced the order and made remarks at a visit to the headquarters of Snap-On Inc, a tool maker in Wisconsin. "Again, this is principally for research jobs and product launches that are really essential for helping to grow the industry and more jobs for Americans".

"Right now H-1B visas are awarded in a totally random lottery and that's wrong".

"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", Mr Trump said.

Trump's executive order appears to be a move in the right direction, fulfilling his pledge to rework the economy toward "made in USA by American workers", but there are lingering concerns.

Trump said "no administration has accomplished more in the first 90 days", he said, adding that he was "building on that optimism".

For now, Indian IT firms are trying to put on a courageous face publicly.

That it is in part because "we do not know anything about the companies that make up the end-users of H-1B labor", Pierce said.

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Employers, such as Walt Disney World and the University of California in San Francisco, have laid off tech employees and replaced them with H-1B visa holders. But privately executives at most Indian IT firms will admit they are anxious.

During his campaign, Trump said he supported high-skilled visas but later came out against them. But the number of applications for the lottery, conducted earlier this month, declined from 236,000 a year ago, possibly reflecting concern about new restrictions. And if they are forced to recruit employees from the USA - which would lead to higher costs - then that would affect their profitability in the long term.

The executive order will stop short of the one- to two-year moratorium on new skilled worker visas that Trump called for during the campaign.

Interestingly, Fortune noted that Congress introduced a H-1B visa reform bill in January, but it has been stalled.

In recent years, the U.S. has been overwhelmed by applications for the programme. The number of application for H1-B visas fell to 199,000 this year from 236,000 in 2016 and 233,000 in 2015, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Those departments would also be asked to offer changes so that H-1B visas are awarded to the "most-skilled or highest-paid applicants".

The senior official said the end result of how the system now works is that foreign workers are often brought in at less pay to replace American workers, "violating the principle of the program".

United States authorities will also conduct site visits to check on employers who hire H-1B visa holders over Americans.

H-1B visas are intended for foreign nationals in occupations that generally require higher education, including science, engineering or computer programming.

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