Trump’s potential about-face on highly skilled immigrants

Shutterstock
President Donald Trump

Trump’s potential about-face on highly skilled immigrants

The president may be willing to re-think H-1B visas.
January 14, 2019

As both sides continue to dig their heels in over the government shutdown, there’s one immigration issue President Donald Trump may be willing to re-think: H-1B visas that can bring highly skilled workers – many of them headed for the tech sector – into the country. In a tweet, the president said that changes were coming soon for H-1B holders that would bring a potential path to citizenship.

Trump’s tweet may just be idle words, but changes to the program were proposed by the Department of Homeland Security in November that would give an advantage to applicants with advanced degrees and reduce costs for applicants. While Trump’s position on granting visas to highly skilled workers has been inconsistent, this may be a sign that the administration is taking note of the program’s advantages.

A shortage of technical talent is not just a problem for the country in general, but for New York specifically: The growth of tech companies in the city far exceeds the availability of local talent. While increased efforts to offer technical training and education within New York are starting to fill that gap, changes to the H-1B program could provide an additional influx of much-needed talent. If the growth of New York’s tech industry continues at this rate, companies will stand to benefit from greater availability of local and foreign-born talent alike.

For the rest of today's tech news, head over to First Read Tech.

Annie McDonough
is a tech and policy reporter at City & State.
20190223