Washington (USA) | Jagran News Desk: In what could impact thousands of India, US President Donald Trump has decided to temporarily suspend H1-B and several categories of work visas till the end of the year, said the White House on Monday.

In a statement, the White House said that restrictions will not affect those already in the US on the H-1B and the other work visa categories being put on pause.

It further said that Trump has decided to “reform the immigration system” to prioritise the “highest-skilled workers and protect American jobs”.

In another statement, the officials have said that the decision was taken to help millions of Americans who have lost their jobs due to the current economic crisis.

The White House further said that the Trump administration will also close “loopholes that have allowed employers in the US to replace American workers” with low-cost foreign labour.

“The more permanent actions that he is directing us to take include reforming the H-1B system to move in the direction of a more merit-based system. You hear the president talk all the time about getting the best and the brightest, and you also hear him talking about protecting American jobs. So, these reforms will do both,” news agency PTI quoted a seniors White House official as saying.

The official further said that under the new reforms, the H-1B programme is going to prioritise those workers who are offered the highest wages as the best proxy for what they bring to the table to add to the economy of the US.

“Up until this year, those visas have been distributed through random lottery... The president has instructed us to get rid of the lottery and replace it with ranking the salaries -- so the top 85,000 salary offers among the 225,000 or so applicants will get visas,” the officials added.

If the company hires a bunch of immigrants and then subcontracts them out to another company -- say, Disney or AT&T, to just pick two historical examples -- then they end up displacing American workers at Disney and AT&T, both of which infamously had their American citizen employees training their H-1B replacements as their last act, the official said.

"The president has instructed us to end that practice and will do so by regulation as soon as we possibly can," said the senior administration official.

Trump among other things has instructed to change the prevailing wage calculation and clean it up, with respect to H-1B wages.

"It is an old, crazy system from the Clinton era, with four tiers, and the prevailing wage calculation is done in a variety of bases," the official said.

"The Department of Labor is going to fix all that, with the idea of setting the prevailing wage floor at the 50th percentile so these people will be in the upper end of earnings, so we're getting the best and the brightest, we're adding the most value to the economy, and we're maximizing the opportunity for Americans to get jobs," the official said.

The Secretary of Labor is going to commence using his statutory authority to investigate abuses in the H1B states, the official said.

"While this statutory authority has existed, I do not believe that any Secretary of Labor, prior to Secretary Scalia, has ever sought to use it. The President has directed him to do that. He's enthusiastic to commence that," the official said.

(With PTI inputs)

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma