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Restrictions On Expedited H-1B Visas Could Take Toll On Silicon Valley

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) – Legal immigration will change as we know it. President Donald Trump's administration is suspending "premium processing" for H-1B visas, which allows employers to bring skilled workers to the U.S.

The H-1B visa is currently in high demand and given out as part of a lottery system and can take up to six months or longer to be reviewed. The premium option ensures applications are expedited: meaning reviewed within 15 days.

"Legal immigration is altogether different thing and Silicon Valley is built upon the premise of people coming here legally and pursing a path to innovation, entrepreneurship and prosperity," said Russell Hancock, CEO of Joint Venture Silicon Valley.

• ALSO READ: Trump Signs Revised Travel Ban Order

Hancock said this move will directly impact tech workers in the Bay Area.

"Silicon Valley is mostly people that are not from Silicon Valley, they are from other parts of the world," Hancock told KPIX 5. "Fifty percent of our population is coming from some other place, in the workforce. So when you shut that down, you shut down Silicon Valley."

The Trump administration's latest H-1B move not only affects the tech industry, but will also have major impacts on healthcare workers.

According to the American Association of Medical Colleges: the H-1B visa lets 15,000 foreign doctors come and work in the U.S.

Trump accused companies of abusing the H-1B program as a way to hire foreign workers and take jobs away from Americans.

Enrique Tan, a healthcare worker and immigrant, told KPIX 5 that he thinks it's "not that bad" and sees the move as protecting the public.

"If you are a bad person or you have a record in your country, I think you don't supposed to go to this country--this country is very strict they are protecting the people," he said.


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