“President Donald Trump is considering a new way of distributing the H-1B visa to ensure they go to the ‘best and brightest,'” Patrick Thibodeau reports for Computerworld.

“The phrase ‘best and the brightest’ has long been used by tech industry groups to champion the H-1B program. It’s greeted with derision by critics, who say the program’s mostly entry-level workers are used to displace U.S. workers,” Thibodeau reports. “But some critics of the visa, a group that now includes top officials in the Trump administration, are adopting the phrase to advance the idea of a priority-based H-1B distribution system.”

“This comes from a draft executive order by Andrew Bremberg, the director of Trump’s Domestic Policy Council. The order — if signed by the president — opens the door to major reforms of the H-1B and the Optional Practical Training programs,” Thibodeau reports. “What is unclear is whether Bremberg’s draft executive order represents a rough draft still in the works or a final order awaiting the president’s signature.”

“One question still not answered is whether the Trump administration is seeking changes that will affect the upcoming April 1 lottery,” Thibodeau reports. “As it stands, Fiscal Year 2018 H-1B visas will be distributed by random lottery, not by any priority or merit-based system.”

Read more in the full article here.

Vox reports, “A sweeping proposed order would, essentially, operate across a number of channels to reduce the scope of legal immigration to the United States. It also begins to lay the administrative and policy groundwork for further legislation altering the scope of legal immigration into one that, in the words of the cover memo, ‘prioritizes the interests of American workers and — to the maximum degree possible — the jobs, wages, and well-being of those workers.'”

“The order itself contains a variety of provisions,” Vox eports. “One would reverse Obama’s extension of the duration of Optional Practical Training work visas and decision to allow the spouses of H-1B guest workers to also have work permits. Another would undo relief Obama has granted to people eligible for green cards but unable to apply for them due to what’s known as the ‘three- and ten-year bars.'”

Vox reports, “The H-1B program, which is often used by outsourcing firms, has come under recent criticism from both Trumpist Republicans and pro-labor Democrats, and the Trump administration is reportedly looking at another way to determine which of the hundreds of thousands of H-1B applicants get visas (instead of the current lottery system).”

Read more via Vox‘s article here.

MacDailyNews Take: H-1B visas are a top issue for Silicon Valley and likely a significant reason why Silicon Valley overwhelmingly backed President Trump’s opponent during the election campaign.

Read the full draft order via Vox here.

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