Apr 24, 2018

Trump administration to crack down on H-1B fraud

Illustration: Sarah Grillo / Axios

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is planning to roll out new proposals that would change the kind of jobs H-1B workers can do, what their relationship with their employers must look like, and how much employers must pay them, according to a letter from USCIS Director Francis Cissna to Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley.

Big picture: This administration has already increased scrutiny for employers who send H1-B workers to third-party worksites. H-1B critics believe these employers take advantage of the visa and steal jobs from U.S. workers. By redefining "specialty occupation" and "employer-employee relationship," USCIS will likely make it more difficult for companies to obtain H-1Bs, particularly outsourcing companies.

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Pandemic forces startups to shift gears

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Spaces CEO Brad Herman had an early warning about COVID-19 because his startup supplies VR attractions to a number of theme parks in China. Realizing that the business he spent the last few years building was going to evaporate, Herman quickly found a new way to apply his team's know-how: helping companies host Zoom teleconferences in VR.

Why it matters: Many startups are rethinking the viability of their core businesses in the wake of the coronavirus. Spaces' move is one of many such pivots likely to crop up in the coming months.

International coronavirus treatment trial uses AI to speed results

Hydroxychloroquine is one of the drugs that will be included in the trial. Photo: John Philips/Getty Images

The first hospital network in the U.S. has joined an international clinical trial using artificial intelligence to help determine which treatments for patients with the novel coronavirus are most effective on an on-going basis.

Why it matters: In the midst of a pandemic, scientists face dueling needs: to find treatments quickly and to ensure they are safe and effective. By using this new type of adaptive platform, doctors hope to collect clinical data that will help more quickly determine what actually works.

We can't just flip the switch on the coronavirus

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

It feels like some big, terrible switch got flipped when the coronavirus upended our lives — so it’s natural to want to simply flip it back. But that is not how the return to normalcy will go.

The big picture: Even as the number of illnesses and deaths in the U.S. start to fall, and we start to think about leaving the house again, the way forward will likely be slow and uneven. This may feel like it all happened suddenly, but it won't end that way.