In Focus: President Trump Endorses Bill Cutting Legal Immigration

RAISE Act would establish merit-based visa system for foreign workers

By Roy Maurer Aug 2, 2017

New Senate legislation that would award visas based on work skills rather than family ties got approval from President Donald Trump on Aug. 2.

The Senate bill would replace the current permanent-resident visa system that favors family reunification with a skills-based points system that would prioritize higher educated, more-skilled applicants. If the bill becomes law, the number of immigrants who enter the U.S. annually with permanent resident visas would drop from 1 million to somewhere between 500,000 and 600,000 people by 2027, aligning with historic norms, according to the White House.

"The Council for Global Immigration strongly supports modernizing our outdated immigration system, which has not been reformed for decades, and we look forward to working with Congress on bipartisan solutions," said Rebecca Peters, the council's director of government affairs. "However, any successful reform effort must recognize that employers are best positioned to evaluate their skills and workforce needs, and historically, points-based proposals have not met that need."

Senators Introduce RAISE Act

Sponsored by Republican Senators Tom Cotton, Ark., and David Perdue, Ga., the RAISE Act would implement a points-based system similar to the ones used in Australia and Canada. Applicants would be scored on education level, English-language ability, wage level offer and record of achievement, among other criteria. The number of skills-based visas for green cards would increase, while preferences for certain categories of extended family members and the Diversity Visa—which has awarded 50,000 green cards per year to areas of the world that have been underrepresented in the United States, such as Africa—would be eliminated. The bill faces dim prospects for passage in the Senate.

(The Washington Post)

Guest Worker Programs Under Review

The Trump administration is also assessing the nation's guest worker visa programs, including the H-1B program. Trump has directed federal agencies to more strictly enforce H1-B visa laws and propose reforms to the program to prevent fraud and abuse and ensure visas are awarded to the most-skilled applicants.

(SHRM Online)

Immigration Changes Impact Staffing Plans

The Trump administration's approach to immigration is forcing companies to rethink and revise their talent acquisition strategies.

(SHRM Online)

Making Good on Election Rhetoric

The RAISE Act reflects President Trump's campaign promises, when he argued that he would curb the rapid growth of immigration that has occurred over the past half century, which he believes has harmed job opportunities for U.S. workers.

(SHRM Online)

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