Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump on Friday said the H-1B visa programme he uses to employ highly-skilled foreign workers at his own businesses should end as it is "very unfair" for American workers and has been taking away their jobs.
The last Republican presidential debate in Miami began with all the four White House aspirants slamming the H-1B visa system - popular among Indian techies, with Florida Senator Marco Rubio even naming Tata and India as part of his anti- H-1B rhetoric.
"I know the H-1B very well. And it's something that I frankly use and I shouldn't be allowed to use it. We shouldn't have it. Very, very bad for workers. It's very important to say, well, I'm a businessman and I have to do what I have to do," Trump said while responding to a question on foreign workers, in particular H-1B visas. When it's sitting there waiting for you, but it's very bad. It's very bad for business, it's very bad for our workers and it's unfair for our workers. We should end it," he said.
IT professionals from India and major Indian IT companies are major beneficiary of H-1B, a non-immigrant visa in the US which allows US employers to temporarily employ foreign workers in speciality occupations.
Rubio said it is illegal under the H-1B programme to use it to replace American workers.
"Under that programme, you have to prove not only that you're not replacing Americans, but that you've tried to hire Americans. If a company is caught abusing that process, they should never be allowed to use it again," he said.
The second problem with the current structure of the programme people perhaps do not understand is a lot of these companies are not directly hiring employees from abroad, he pointed out.
"They are hiring a consulting company like Tata, for example, out of India. That company then hoards up all of these visas. They hire workers. Disney or some other company hires this company," Rubio said.
"What they're basically doing is they are insourcing and outsourcing. They are bringing in workers from abroad that are not direct employees of a Disney or someone else, they're employees of this consulting business," he said.
"What I argue is that no consulting business such as that should be allowed to hoard up all of these visas, that the visas should only be available for companies to use to directly hire workers and that we should be stricter in how he enforce it," he said.
"It is illegal now, it is a violation of the law now to use that programme to replace Americans. If a company is caught doing that, whether it be Disney or anyone else, they should be barred from using the programme in the future," Rubio said.
Trump said that he has been endorsed by Disney workers where several people lost their job due to H-1B visa workers.