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Order on Visas for High-Skilled Workers Expected

US President Donald Trump is to sign an executive order that would alter the H-1B visa program for high-skilled workers, the Associated Press reports.

Officials tell the AP that the order, called "Buy American, Hire American," is to be signed today. In particular, the order would direct federal agencies to develop new rules to prevent immigration fraud and abuse and to ensure that H-1B visas are given to the "most-skilled or highest-paid applicants," the AP says, as the Trump administration contends that visa program enables companies to bring in cheaper labor.

Some 85,000 H-1B visas are awarded each year by lottery and many go to technology workers. Supporters of the program argue that it also encourages foreign students to remain in the US after they receive a degree in high-tech fields, the AP adds.

CNNMoney notes that H-1B visa applications have dropped for the first time in five years. When the application period opened April 3, 199,000 applications were sent in, as compared to 236,000 applications last year, it adds. It also points out that expedited review of H-1B visas has been placed on hold.