US President Donald Trump signed an executive order preventing federal agencies from contracting or subcontracting foreign workers - mainly those on H-1B visas.
The move, yet another blow to immigrants from India and other nations especially in the IT sector, came over a month after the Trump administration in June 23 suspended 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 H-1B visa, most sought-after among Indian IT professionals, is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise.
Technology companies depend on it to hire tens of thousands of employees each year from countries like India and China.
"Today I am signing an executive order to ensure that the federal government lives by a very simple rule, hire American," Trump told reporters in the Oval Office of the White House before signing the order against hiring H-1B visa holders for federal contracts.
Trump told reporters that his administration will not tolerate firing of hardworking Americans in the pursuit of cheap foreign labour.
"As we speak, we're finalising the H-1B regulation so that no American workers be replaced ever again. H-1B should be used for top highly paid talent to create American jobs, not as inexpensive labour programmes and destroy American job,” said the President who was surrounded across the Cabinet Room table with individuals campaigning against job outsourcing.
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 guidlines to prevent H-1B employers from moving H-1B workers to other employers' job sites to displace Americans workers.
According to the White House, Trump’s actions will help combat employers’ misuse of H-1B visas, which were never intended to replace qualified American workers with low-cost foreign labour.