“Buy American and Hire American” with consequences for interview appointment at the US Consulate

President Trump’s decree “Buy American and Hire American” is not only intended to encourage more orders to be made to American companies and buy more US products, it will primarily protect American workers with consequences for issuing visas for foreign workers:

Can the position be filled with an American?

For most job-based green cards (immigrant visas) the prospective US employer must prove he could not find a suitable American or green card holder for the job. Only then can the workplace be assigned to a foreigner who then applies for an immigrant visa or a green card.

A similar rule does not apply to most work-based US non-immigrant visas (such as E or L or H-1B visas).

In April 2017, however, President Donald Trump issued Executive Order No. 13788 “Buy American and Hire American”. In this context the consular administrative provisions on individual work visas have been extended to include a passage that, rather vaguely, states that the purpose of the executive order is to protect the interests of the US labor market.

Applicants should be prepared for critical questions during the interview appointment

For some time now, it has been reported that at non-immigrant work-exchange interview appointments to work in the US consular officers are increasingly asking the claimant why the US’s planned benefits could not be provided by a US citizen.

It is unclear whether the consulate can ask such a question at all and make the issuing of visas dependent on the answer. However, you should consider preparing for this kind of demand in advance of the interview.

Critical questions also for interview appointments for L-1B visas

In addition, some types of visa are required in any case to provide the employee with special skills that are not available in the US labor market such as: with some E-2 visas or with the L-1B visa. For the L-1B visa only the potential US employer had to prove this special knowledge to the US immigration authority.

Meanwhile the employee and applicant should also be prepared for the L-1B visa to be interviewed in the interview appointment at the consulate.

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