Trump Prepares Order on Foreign Workers

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WASHINGTON — President Trump is expected to sign an executive order on Tuesday aimed at making it harder for technology companies to recruit low-wage workers from foreign countries and undercut Americans looking for jobs.

Mr. Trump will also direct all federal agencies to systematically examine the effectiveness of government rules and trade agreements that require a preference for purchasing from American companies.

The president will announce the order during a visit to the headquarters of Snap-on Tools in Kenosha, Wis., senior administration officials told reporters during a briefing Monday afternoon. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity to preview the president’s announcement.

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Trump Signs Visa Order, and Tech Giants Exhale

KENOSHA, Wis. — President Trump, hammering his “America First” campaign theme, signed an order on Tuesday that he said would favor American companies for federal contracts and reform the visa program for foreign technical workers.

After recent policy reversals that have angered his populist base, Mr. Trump described the visa program as an initiative gone awry that has driven down wages for Americans. The order was a means to end the “theft of American prosperity,” which he said had been brought on by low-wage immigrant labor.

Yet the order calls for a series of relatively modest steps, like a multiagency report on changes needed for the H-1B program, under which the government admits 85,000 foreign workers annually, many of them in the high-tech, industrial, medical and science fields. Collectively, the efforts outlined in the order could take years to carry out.

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How ‘Hire American’ Could Affect a World of Tech Workers

President Trump signed an executive order on Tuesday that directs federal agencies to review employment immigration laws to promote “Hire American” policies.

The order makes no immediate changes to work visa programs but tells the Departments of Labor, Justice, Homeland Security and State to study existing laws and procedures and recommend changes.

In the case of one program, H-1B temporary visas, the order directs the agencies to suggest changes to help ensure that the visas are awarded to the most skilled, best-paid immigrant workers. “Right now, H-1B visas are awarded in a totally random lottery, and that’s wrong,” Mr. Trump said at the signing in Kenosha, Wis.

The order also calls for a crackdown on fraud and abuse in the current system of work visas — which the agencies had already signaled they would do.

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Tech Workers Left in Limbo

Like many of Silicon Valley’s workers who are here as part of the H-1B visa program, which is aimed at highly skilled workers, Mr. Gopal was born in India, attended university in the United States and got a job at a tech company. He said the Bay Area attracts the smartest engineers from all over the world because it is known as “a magnet for technical skill.”

He is now at the delivery start-up Instacart, working on an app that customers in several cities use to order their groceries. His weekly podcast “Fragmented,” which he hosts with an app maker named Donn Felker, has raised his professional profile and netted him speaking spots at conferences as far away as Sweden.

While growing up in India, Mr. Gopal was a fan of American television shows and cartoons. After he graduated from Carnegie Mellon University, he was excited to take his parents to Disneyland.

The high-tech industry is now deeply dependent on workers like Mr. Gopal: One in eight tech workers has an H-1B visa, according to estimates from Goldman Sachs.

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