The White House clarified that the Donald Trump administration wants to make changes in the existing H-1B provisions for it to play a better role in attracting highly skilled foreign workers as opposed to the “outsourcing” role it has now evolved into.
“The president’s overall instinct—and he said this publicly a number of times—he wants to find ways to make sure that people who graduate in a highly skilled area like technology stay in the country. He finds that a very positive part of the overall immigration,” White House Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy Coordination Chris Liddell told a Washington audience on Thursday.
Liddell said, “Trump has talked about merit immigration, clearly that (H-1B) fits in merit immigration.”
The Trump administration, he said, would love to find ways to change that as more people are coming out with PhDs in the tech sector.
The top White House official emphasised that there is a need to carry on reforms in H-1B to keep more talented graduates in this country. This is an incredibly constructive part of the immigration debate, which, unfortunately, doesn’t get a lot of focus, he said.
Liddell said President Trump has repeatedly spoken about merit-based reform as part of the immigration platform. The Silicon Valley and the tech industry should welcome that as a concept, he said.
“Relatively, as a country, a very small proportion of the people who come in as legal immigrants do it on a merit-based system relative to any other country I know,” he said.
“So promoting the concept of merit-based immigration, which clearly would be at least partially orientated towards the tech sector, I would think that there should be a high degree of alignment on,” Liddell said.