President Trump Issues Hire American Executive Order for Federal Contracting

On 3 August, U.S. President Trump signed an Executive Order on “Aligning Federal Contracting and Hiring Practices With the Interests of American Workers”. The Executive Order requires federal agencies to assess the use of nonimmigrant workers by contractors and subcontractors or offshoring practices that have impacted job opportunities for U.S. workers. The Trump Administration stated the Executive Order is necessary to create more job opportunities for U.S. workers and ensure nonimmigrant workers don’t compete for jobs created by federal agency contracts.

The order requires that in four months the heads of each agency submit a report on their respective contractor practices on the use of nonimmigrant workers in 2018 and 2019. Contractors and subcontractors will need to provide the agency with their labor data for work in the U.S. as well as services previously performed in the U.S. but relocated to a foreign country. Each agency head is expected to determine the impact on the U.S. economy, Federal procurement efficiency and national security regarding the findings of the nonimmigrant worker practices of their contractors and subcontractors.

The order also requires the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Labor (DOL) within 45 days to take action to protect U.S. workers from any adverse effects on wage and working conditions caused by the employment of H-1B workers at job sites. The job site includes those operated by third parties and the intent is to ensure that all employers of H-1B workers adhere to the requirements of U.S. immigration law. Current law requires an employer to pay the H-1B worker the higher of the actual or prevailing wage and not adversely affect U.S. workers.

Additionally, DHS and DOL have previously been directed to issue regulations or take other actions to ensure the presence of H-1B workers in the U.S. does not harm U.S. workers. This was requested in the President’s 22 June immigration proclamation that put in place an overseas work visa ban until the end of the year. At this time, we are still waiting for the agencies to release a rule taking additional actions on the H-1B.

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How This Impacts Mobility

While the executive order has no immediate impact on the H-1B visa program it is likely to have an impact on the future of federal contracts and subcontracts that utilize H-1B or other nonimmigrant workers, even though many agencies require the hiring of U.S. citizens. In the coming weeks we do anticipate an H-1B rule that will strengthen the laws around these visas. Worldwide ERC will keep you informed as we learn of any new information about the forthcoming federal rule.