Trump’s Executive Order “Buy American and Hire American and the H1B Visa?

Posted by Rohit Mittal

UPDATE: On Tuesday, April 21 President Trump announced that the immigration suspension Executive Order will last 60 days apply only to the issuing of new green cards. Many H1B visa holders are wondering how the Executive Order will affect their visa status. The Order does not, at present, affect the H1B visa. To read more about Trump’s Executive order, click here.

On April 2018, 2017, President Trump signed an executive order in KENOSHA. This executive order is called the “Buy American and Hire American Executive Order” and seeks to protect the United States’ economic interests. The executive order promotes the use of American made goods and ensures that American labor is hired before other nationalities. Trump unveiled this order in Kenosha, in the state of Wisconsin at a Snap-on Tools firm. Snap-on Tools is a firm that is known to buy products from China and has Chinese, Argentinian, Brazilian, and Swedish workers. This company has about 70% of its production plants in the United States and also has many plants in other countries.

So why should the Buy American and Hire American executive order to be of interest to you? If you have an H1B visa or if you are planning to get one, it should be of interest to you because one of the driving factors of this order comes from two areas in today’s workforce: manufacturing jobs and computer professionals jobs. Apart from that, this executive order stands to review the H1B visa program and to detect fraud and abuse within the program; a program that is heavily used by technology companies. The executive order is directed towards the federal government to fully enforce federal guidelines prioritizing the use of American companies and goods in federal projects. This executive order contains several aspects that we will go over in this article. We will provide a summary for you and assess how this order impacts the H1B visa program for now.

Summary of the Buy American and Hire American Executive Order

Buy American Laws

This basically means that all statutes, regulations, rules, and executive orders which relate to federal procurement or federal grants have to provide a preference to the purchase or acquirement of goods, products, or materials produced in the United States. Products include steel, iron, and manufactured goods. For example, for steel products, the entire manufacturing processes have to be done in the United States.

This law wants to promote economic growth and preserve national security and create good jobs with competitive wages. Furthermore, this law tries to strengthen the US middle class and support the American manufacturing and defense industrial bases.

Hire American

This order is actually referred to as “Hire American” and is hard to misunderstand. The order protects American workers, promotes higher wages for Americans, and guarantees higher employment rates for Americans.

US Immigration System

This is another very important part of this executive order. This part of the order aims to improve the immigration system, like the Secretary of State or the Secretary of Labor and forces them to review and propose new rules and issue new guidance to revise current laws. This is to be done in order to protect the interests of US workers and to prevent fraud and abuse of the H1B Program.

Review H1B Program

All agencies have to review the H1B program, ensure proper functioning and suggest new reforms for the program. The final goal is to eliminate the H1B Lottery and issue H1B visas only to highly skilled and highly paid workers, by changing the lottery to a point-based system.

This order is a first effort to promote “Buy American and Hire American”. The order however is still very vague, doesn’t have any specific timelines, and is only an executive order and not an actual law.

Does this executive order have an impact for H1B Visa Holders?

For now, this executive order does not affect the H1B visa program and the program will not be affected for quite some time. This means president Trump cannot simply sign a document and have everything changed. However, if this “Buy American and Hire American Executive Order” actually goes through congress, there will definitely be an impact for people wanting to receive an H1B visa. For now, you have absolutely nothing to worry about, since the executive order has no impact on the current H1B visa program.

What changes have to be made for now, because of this executive order?

There are no changes to be made to the program or to anything else, but the executive order requests all relevant state agencies to review the current H1B Program, in order to protect workers in the United States and prevent fraud and abuse within the program.

Which companies could be affected?

Immigrants bring several economic benefits to the United States and to several companies. Especially to technology companies in Silicon Valley who are dependent on highly skilled immigrant employees.

The problem is that the workers which they are in need of, often can’t be found in the United States, which forces companies to hire workers from outside of the US. These companies are highly dependent on workers from India, as they tend to be very well trained and highly skilled in technology.

For now, we recommend that you do not worry and continue with your lives regularly because all will stay as it is for the time being.

We wish you the best of luck in your visa endeavors and green card goals and are here for you if you have any questions about current immigration processes.

If there are any changes regarding the “Buy American and Hire American Executive Order”, we will keep you updated so you know what to expect as Congress decides on immigration issues in Washington D.C. If you have any further questions or want to add more information on the topic, feel free to drop a comment below or get in contact with us.

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