In addition to addressing the visas issue, he also ordered a review of government procurement rules favouring American companies to see if they are actually benefiting, especially the USA steel industry.
Trump is heading Tuesday to Kenosha, Wisconsin, where he plans to sign an order dubbed "Buy American, Hire American", said administration officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity despite the president's frequent criticism of the use of anonymous sources.
The US H1-B visa is a non-immigrant visa, which allows firms to hire foreign workers in specialised occupations. Trump-branded products are also made overseas. 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.
Voicing immediate reservations about the decree, the US Chamber of Commerce, however, warned the Trump administration not to do away with the whole H-1B scheme, also acknowledging that there was room for improving the program. The government procurement section did.
The administration says it looks to advance new "Hire American" policies, as well as combat abuse in the controversial H-1B visa program. The new order poses particular problems for India, which sends the maximum H-1B workers to the US.
"I am proud to stand with the President as he leads on prioritizing American workers and American products first. This will stop", Trump said before signing the order in Wisconsin. "Simply reviewing the programme is too little, too late", Senator Dick Durbin said.
The White House said the programme undercuts American workers by bringing in large numbers of cheaper foreign workers, which drives down U.S. wages.
A majority of them work in the tech sector, some for some firms, others for Indian outsourcing companies such as Tata Consultancy Services and Infosys who provide services for huge swathes of corporate America.
"This election, the American people voted to end the theft of American prosperity".
Tech companies have been bracing for Trump to make changes to the H-1B programme.
There was a significant drop, at least 16 percent, in the applications for the H1B visas for highly-skilled workers this year than in 2016.
Yes, H-1B visas are complicated, but they are still harmful ("Trump's not disgusting immigration order", April 19).
The order will call on those four federal departments to propose reforms to ensure H-1B visas are awarded to the most skilled or highest paid applicant.
Changes in the policy of the temporary visa program could affect companies that heavily rely on outsourced workers. Facebook did not respond to requests for comment.
Of the 85,000 slots, 65,000 are for applicants with bachelor's degrees and 20,000 for those with master's degrees or higher.
The US president can not, by a simple decree, change the number of visas allocated.
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