"Buy American, Hire American": New Executive Order from President Trump

On April 18, 2017, President Donald J. Trump signed a new Executive Order: "Buy American and Hire American."

The "Hire American" part of the directive asks the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Labor, and the Secretary of Homeland Security to, "propose new rules and issue new guidance [...] to protect the interests of United States workers in the administration of our immigration system, including through the prevention of fraud or abuse."  

President Trump also directs these same agencies to propose reforms to the H-1B program to "help ensure that H-1B visas are awarded to the most-skilled or highest-paid petition beneficiaries."  

Notably, there is no firm timeline for either gathering proposals or implementing changes, as the Executive Order only asks that the proposals be made "as soon as practicable."

Given that the number of available cap-subject H-1B visas (65,000 regular H-1Bs and 20,000 advance degree H-1Bs per fiscal year) is an annual limit established by Congress, legislative action would be needed to change the number of visas available or otherwise modify the program in a significant way. Such congressional action takes time, however, so it is not foreseeable that this Executive Order will have a significant impact on pending H-1B Petitions or the current H-1B cap season in the immediate future. However, it is likely that the relevant federal agencies will publish proposed regulation(s) in the future.

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