Washington, DC: In a huge blow to Indian IT professionals eyeing the US job market, President Donald Trump on Monday signed an executive order preventing federal agencies from contracting or subcontracting foreign workers — mainly those on H-1B visa — from hiring.
The move came over a month after the Trump administration on June 23 suspended the H-1B visas along with other types of foreign work visas until the end of 2020 to protect American workers in a crucial election year. The new restrictions took effect from June 24.
“Today I am signing an executive order to ensure that the federal government lives by a very simple rule, higher American,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office of the White House before signing the order against hiring H1B visa holders for federal contracts.
Trump told reporters that his administration will not tolerate firing of hardworking Americans in the pursuit of cheap foreign labor.
“As we speak, we’re finalizing the H-1B regulation so that no American workers will be replaced ever again. H-1B should be used for top highly paid talent to create American jobs, not as inexpensive labor programs and destroy American jobs,” said the president who was surrounded across the Cabinet Room table with individuals campaigning against job outsourcing.
Prominent among them were Sara Blackwell, founder and president of Florida-based Protect US Workers organization; Jonathan Hicks, a software engineer in the Tennessee Valley Authority; and Kevin Lynn, founder of Pennsylvania-based US Tech Workers.
The executive order requires all federal agencies to complete an internal audit and assess whether they are in compliance with the requirement that only US citizens and nationals are appointed to the competitive service. As a result, the Department of Labour will also finalise guidelines to prevent H-1B employers from moving H-1B workers to other employers’ job sites to displace American workers.
Outsourcing hundreds of workers is especially detrimental in the middle of a pandemic, which has already cost millions of Americans their jobs, the White House said in a statement.