Bits: Daily Report: Cautious Optimism for Trump’s H-1B Plans

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President Trump’s order calls for a series of steps aimed at reforming the visa program for foreign technical workers. Credit Kiichiro Sato/Associated Press

President Trump signed an executive order on Tuesday that could lead to significant changes in the H-1B immigrant worker program that is heavily used by the technology industry.

While tech has often clashed with Mr. Trump, at least on this issue, many executives are cautiously optimistic. Why? They are not the biggest users of H-1B visas — that distinction goes to outsourcing companies — and some hope that changes to the program will help them bring highly educated workers to the United States.

The tempered comments from technology executives stood in contrast to their opposition to earlier orders by Mr. Trump banning travelers from a handful of predominantly Muslim countries. Immigrants have risen to the pinnacle of the industry, leading icons like Google and Microsoft, and many rank-and-file workers from abroad have become entrepreneurs behind the most successful start-ups.

Neeraj Agrawal, a venture capitalist with Battery Ventures in Boston, is supportive of the proposal to reform the visa lottery system, but he believes Mr. Trump should make it clear that people with skills and ambition are still wanted in the United States.

“While they’re tweaking the system, I think it’s really important for the headline to read, ‘Immigrants Are Still Welcome Here,’” Mr. Agrawal said. “What I’m really worried about is, the undercurrent of tone and message people are hearing is that they’re no longer welcome. We have to get that right.”

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