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Trump’s work-in-progress work-visa proposal: What we do and don’t know

Source | LinkedIn : By Caroline Fairchild

A draft of an executive order issued by the Trump administration is raising questions among the thousands of immigrant STEM workers it could potentially impact.

Following through on his campaign promise to create more jobs for American workers, President Trump seeks to use the order to limit the number of immigrant employees that technology companies hire through work-visa programs. A draft of the proposal, which was leaked by Vox and can be found here, states “visa programs for foreign workers … should be administered in a manner that protects the civil rights of American workers and current lawful residents, and that prioritizes the protection of American workers — our forgotten working people — and the jobs they hold.”

The work-visa programs that Trump seeks to upend — the H-1B, L-1, E-2 and B1 programs, more specifically — are used by technology companies to fill tens of thousands of both high and lower-skill jobs annually. While it is still unclear how the order could change the way that tech giants like Apple, Google and Microsoft recruit talent, it is also creating confusion among immigrant tech workers who are not sure who the executive order would impact if implemented.

Here are just a few comments we are seeing across LinkedIn questioning what the proposed order could mean:

To get a better sense of what the drafted proposal really means for tech employees and employers alike, I interviewed Daniel Costa, the director of immigration law and policy research at the Economic Policy Institute.

Edited excerpts:

Caroline Fairchild: What does this drafted executive order mean and who will it most impact?

Daniel Costa: The draft executive order – which of course has not been signed or come into effect yet – sets out a series of instructions from the president to his federal agencies, which relate mostly to nonimmigrant work-visa programs – also known as “guestworker” or temporary foreign worker programs. These are considered “nonimmigrant” because they are temporary, as opposed to permanent resident visas (aka green cards). Most of the directives are vague, while a few are specific, and one section relates to increasing transparency in temporary foreign worker programs.

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