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The future is uncertain for many potential H-1B workers

Certain types of workers from other countries with specialized skills are highly desirable to U.S. employers. Those looking to immigrate to Riverside County to work in one of these skilled positions would need to obtain a H-1B visa. According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the person applying for the H-1B visa must already have a job offer by a U.S. employer who can then petition on the worker’s behalf.

According to CNN, the H1-B visa is commonly used by foreign engineers to work in the U.S. Since President-Elect Donald Trump has indicated that immigration reform will be a high priority for his administration, many in the tech business are now wondering what this will mean for H-1B workers. H-1B visas are awarded through a lottery, with only so many being issued each year. In 2016, 236,000 people applied for only 85,000 available visas.

Uncertainty about what the future holds has led many current H-1B workers to seek out employment with larger companies. Smaller startups do not have the resources and legal teams that companies like Facebook and Google boast. If changes to the program are made, workers without this kind of support may end up being forced to return to their home countries and the U.S. tech industry would suffer.

While much of Trump’s focus so far has been on deporting illegal immigrants, it remains to be seen whether foreign tech workers will also come into his sights. Should he decide to crackdown on those who abuse the H-1B program, it could actually benefit some small companies by evening out the playing field and giving them a chance to compete for talented workers.

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