US President Donald Trump after his election victory had expressed support for H-1B visa regime contrary to his campaign rhetoric against the work visas popular among Indian IT professionals, according to a new book by an American author.
The H1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. The technology companies depend on H-1B to hire tens of thousands of employees each year from countries like India and China. Trump had made the alleged abuse and fraud in H-1B visa system a major election issue during his election campaign.
After becoming the president, he signed an executive order aimed at tightening the process of issuing the H—1B visas. But the book ‘Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House’ written by journalist Michael Wolff says after a meeting with a delegation of Silicon Valley leaders at the Trump Towers on December 14, 2016; Trump, then as president-elect, said that the tech industry needed help on the issue of H-1B.
“Take this H-1B visa issue. They really need these H-1B visas,” Trump was quoted as telling media mogul Rupert Murdoch over phone after the meeting. The White House, in general, has disputed the content of the book and described it as fiction.
“The president-elect enjoyed being courted. On December 14, a high-level delegation from Silicon Valley came to Trump Tower to meet him. Later that afternoon, according to a source privy to details of the conversation, Trump called Rupert Murdoch, who asked him how the meeting had gone,” Wolff writes in the book, excerpts of which were published on Wednesday in New York magazine.
“Oh, great, just great,” said Trump. “These guys really need my help. Obama was not very favourable to them, too much regulation. This is really an opportunity for me to help them.”
“Donald,” said Murdoch, “for eight years these guys had Obama in their pocket. They practically ran the administration. They don’t need your help.” “Take this H-1B visa issue. They really need these H-1B visas,” Trump said according to the book. “Murdoch suggested that taking a liberal approach to H-1B visas, which open America’s doors to select immigrants, might be hard to square with his promises to build a wall and close the borders,” Wolff writes.
The sympathetic view of Trump towards H-1B visa appears contrary to his public views on this popular work visa. According to a latest report, the US is considering new regulations to prevent the extension of H-1B visas as part of Trump’s “Buy American, Hire American” initiative, a move which could hit tech firms and hundreds of thousands of Indian IT professionals.