Apr 1, 2018

Some Trump policies make life harder for highly-skilled foreigners

President Donald Trump (R) at a White House meeting on immigration reform. Photo: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

President Trump has repeatedly called for a “merit-based” immigration system that his administration claimed will benefit thousands of highly-skilled migrants. But, as the AP reports, the Trump administration has made choices that are making it more difficult for skilled foreigners to obtain and retain work visas in the United States.

Why it matters: As Axios' Steve LeVine reported last week, the added difficulties to working in the U.S. — and simply, the uncertainties around the future — are causing the highly-skilled foreign workers that Trump covets to look elsewhere for jobs. One of the main beneficiaries? Canada.

What's happening:

  • His administration ended an Obama-era policy last year that had allowed foreign entrepreneurs to come to the U.S. to start companies. The visa was renewable for a 30-month term.
  • Trump is mulling a plan to halt work permits for the spouses of H-1B visa holders, which would ultimately discourage discourage H-1B visa applicants from staying in the country.
  • The H-1B visa program, the main avenue for high-skilled foreign workers to enter the country, currently allocates 85,000 visas annually, but the process for approval has become noticeably more strict. Dean Garfield, president of the Information Technology Industry Council, which advocates for H1-B visas, told the AP: "We’ve got employees that are going through the process, who have gone through such a level of scrutiny and interrogatory that is unprecedented."

But, but, but: Joanne Fereirra, a spokeswoman for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, told the AP that 92.5% of the visas are still approved, only 2% lower than under the Obama administration in 2016.

  • “The stuff that they’re actually doing is not so much restricting skilled immigration as enforcing the law,” Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies, a conservative think tank that supports reducing immigration, told the AP. “They’re rolling back some of the extralegal measures that other administrations have taken.”

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 1,094,068 — Total deaths: 58,773 — Total recoveries: 225,519Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 6 p.m. ET: 273,880 — Total deaths: 7,077 — Total recoveries: 9,521Map.
  3. Public health latest: The CDC is recommending Americans wear face coverings in public to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.
  4. 2020 latest: Wisconsin's governor called for a last-minute primary election delay. "I think a lot of people cheat with mail-in voting," President Trump said on the 2020 election, as more states hold primaries by mail.
  5. Business updates: America's small business bailout is off to a bad start. The DOT is urging airlines to refund passengers due to canceled or rescheduled flights, but won't take action against airlines that provide vouchers or credits.
  6. Oil latest: The amount of gas American drivers are consuming dropped to levels not seen in more than 25 years, government data shows. Trump is calling on the Energy Department to find more places to store oil.
  7. Tech updates: Twitter will allow ads containing references to the coronavirus under certain use cases.
  8. U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt: Senators call for independent investigation into firing of Navy captain.
  9. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  10. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Government will cover uninsured patients' coronavirus treatment

Azar at Friday's briefing. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

The federal government will cover the costs of coronavirus treatment for the uninsured, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said at a White House briefing Friday.

How it works: The money will come from a $100 billion pot set aside for the health care industry in the most recent stimulus bill. Providers will be paid the same rates they get for treating Medicare patients, and as a condition of those payments, they won't be allowed to bill patients for care that isn't covered.

More states issue stay-at-home orders as coronavirus crisis escalates

Data: Axios reporting; Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey issued a stay-at-home order on Friday as the novel coronavirus pandemic persists. The order goes into effect Saturday at 5 p.m. and will remain in place through April 30. Missouri Gov. Mike Parson also issued a statewide social distancing order on Friday.

The big picture: In a matter of weeks, the number of states that issued orders nearly quadrupled, affecting almost 300 million Americans.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 4 hours ago - Health