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Photo: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images

President Trump's hardline stance on immigration and his administration's policies designed to make it more difficult to win visas to work in the United States are making the once-esteemed H-1B visa less desirable, the San Francisco Chronicle reports, worrying tech companies that depend on that labor.

Why it matters: H-1B advocates and employers argue that there are real skills gaps in the U.S. that make hiring foreign talent through programs like H-1B crucial for keeping Silicon Valley tech companies on the cutting edge.

The big picture: For the second year in a row, the number of H-1B applications dropped. The U.S. is no longer the only place with a blossoming technology hub, allowing top talent to go elsewhere if they encounter visa difficulties.

  • “People used to not be able to use their skills back in China, Taiwan and India. But now you can,” AnnaLee Saxenian, dean of UC Berkeley’s School of Information, told the Chronicle.

How we got here: The Trump administration has increased scrutiny toward H-1B requests — with the number of challenges to those requests rising by 45% in 2017, according to Reuters.

  • Industry experts say that H-1B visa sponsors and employers receive more "Requests for Evidence" from the Trump administration than ever before.
  • It is now harder for H-1B outsourcers, who send H-1B workers to third-party worksites, to win H-1B visas.
  • Computer programmers are no longer eligible for H-1B.
  • The Trump administration is expected to cancel work authorization for the spouses of H-1B holders.

The key quote from the Chronicle's reporting:

"This is the fourth time that Yadav, who has two academic degrees and works as a manager at a consulting company, has tried to get to the U.S. He has a job waiting for him in the Bay Area if he can secure an H-1B visa. But he keeps getting rejected. And if it doesn’t work out this time — even with the help of Lord Balaji — he’s going to stop trying."

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - World

In photos: Pope Francis spreads message of peace on first trip to Iraq

Pope Francis waving as he arrives near the ruins of the Syriac Catholic Church of the Immaculate Conception (al-Tahira-l-Kubra), in the old city of Iraq's northern Mosul on March 7. Photo: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP via Getty Images

Pope Francis was on Sunday visiting areas of northern Iraq once held by Islamic State militants.

Why it matters: This is the first-ever papal trip to Iraq. The purpose of Francis' four-day visit is largely intended to reassure the country's Christian minority, who were violently persecuted by ISIS, which controlled the region from 2014-2017.

Cuomo faces fresh misconduct allegations from former aides

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo during a February press conference in New York City. Photo: Seth Wenig/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

The office of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) was on Saturday facing fresh accusations of misconduct against his staff, including further allegations of inappropriate behavior against two more women. His office denies the claims.

Driving the news: The Washington Post reported Cuomo allegedly embraced an aide when he led the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and that two male staffers who worked for him in the governor's office accused him of routinely berating them "with explicit language."

In photos: Protesters rally for George Floyd ahead of Derek Chauvin's trial

Chaz Neal, a Redwing community activist, outside the Minnesota Governor's residence during a protest in support of George Floyd in St.Paul, Minnesota, on March 6. Photo: Kerem Yucel/AFP via Getty Images

Dozens of protesters were rallying outside the Minnesota governor's mansion in St Paul Saturday, urging justice for George Floyd ahead of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin's trial over the 46-year-old's death.

The big picture: Chauvin faces charges for second-degree murder and manslaughter over Floyd's death last May, which ignited massive nationwide and global protests against racism and for police reform. His trial is due to start this Monday, with jury selection procedures.