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Photo: Carolyn Van Houten / Getty

Sen. Orrin Hatch introduced several immigration amendments this morning focusing on high-skilled worker visas that would, among other things, make it easier for H-1B visa holders to change jobs.

Yes, but: The bill does not raise the number of H-1B workers permitted in the U.S., making the legislation more palatable for hardline Republicans worried about protecting American jobs. High-skilled worker visas have been largely left out of the immigration conversation so far, and the President’s four pillars have caused enough headache in the Senate.

The amendments would:

  • Eliminate per country caps for green cards
  • Raise the wage H-1B dependent companies are required to pay to exempt H-1B workers
  • Make it easier for H-1B holders to change jobs
  • Penalize companies who only employ them for less than 3 months
  • Exempt those with Master’s degrees awaiting their green cards from H-1B limits
  • Allow spouses of H-1B holders to legally work in the U.S.

Key quote: “As I’ve long said, high-skilled immigration is merit-based immigration,” Hatch said in a statement to Axios. “These are important reforms that can attract broad support, and I intend to pursue every opportunity to include them in the pending immigration bill.”

Go deeper

USAID chief tests positive for coronavirus

An Air Force cargo jet delivers USAID supplies to Russia earlier this year. Photo: Mikhail Metzel/TASS via Getty Images

The acting administrator of the United States Agency for International Development informed senior staff Wednesday he has tested positive for coronavirus, two sources familiar with the call tell Axios.

Why it matters: John Barsa, who staffers say rarely wears a mask in their office, is the latest in a series of senior administration officials to contract the virus. His positive diagnosis comes amid broader turmoil at the agency following the election.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
3 hours ago - Health

COVID-19 shows a bright future for vaccines

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Promising results from COVID-19 vaccine trials offer hope not just that the pandemic could be ended sooner than expected, but that medicine itself may have a powerful new weapon.

Why it matters: Vaccines are, in the words of one expert, "the single most life-saving innovation ever," but progress had slowed in recent years. New gene-based technology that sped the arrival of the COVID vaccine will boost the overall field, and could even extend to mass killers like cancer.

5 hours ago - Health

Beware a Thanksgiving mirage

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Don't be surprised if COVID metrics plunge over the next few days, only to spike next week.

Why it matters: The COVID Tracking Project warns of a "double-weekend pattern" on Thanksgiving — where the usual weekend backlog of data is tacked on to a holiday.