While Congress continues to make President Donald Trump’s hopes for creating an immigration system based more around merit seem unlikely to come to fruition, the Trump administration is proceeding to make it harder for high-skilled immigrants to get H-1B US visas.
A program granting US visas to foreign entrepreneurs wanting to start businesses in the US, which commenced under President Barack Obama has been shut down by the State Department, which has also begun more aggressive scrutiny of US visas for highly-skilled immigrants. The State Department is also looking at the possibility of ending a provision enabling the spouses of skilled immigrants to legally work in the US.
The Trump administration is continuing efforts to fix perceived flaws in the current skilled immigration system, which is favorable to employers, while still advocating for the nation’s immigration to receive an overhaul. Mark Krikorian from the Center of Immigration Studies, which favors a reduction in immigration to the US, says the Trump administration is not imposing restrictions on skilled immigration so much as enforcing existing immigration law and rolling back many extra-legal measures taken by other administrations.
The H-1B US visa is one of the main avenues by which skilled immigrants can gain legal access to the US and is favored by the tech industry. Around 85,000 of the visas are issued via a lottery system every year, and critics argue that companies use them to hire cheaper foreign labor instead of American workers.