Earlier this year (and we're only on day 11!) reports surfaced that the administration was planning to cut the option for H-1B renewals beyond six years, regardless of whether visa holders were in the application process for a permanent residency green card. This proposal is guided by Trump's "Buy American, Hire American" initiative. Under the current framework, H-1B visa holders can apply for an extension up to six years (two, three year terms) and if they have a pending green card application, they can apply for an additional extension.
Those that have spent a few years watching how Washington works know the patterns Congress falls into. For instance, when Congress is struggling to find its legislative footing, there tends to be a flurry of hearings on complex but populist issues in an attempt to show THINGS ARE HAPPENING. So while it seems like all the oxygen in DC is taken up by the political circus, there are a few worrisome items appearing on the congressional agenda. Data, algorithms, and privacy are the ones developers should be watching closely.
Yesterday, the Council of the European Union, under the guidance of the Estonian Presidency, agreed on a common position on the Draft regulation on the free flow of non-personal data in the EU. The regulation aims at banning “data localization” and removing barriers to the free movement of data across borders.
The free-flow of data is fundamental to a vibrant digital economy. Impediments which restrict the flow of data across borders create fragmented and inefficient markets without scale economies, stifle innovation, limit competition, and drive up consumer costs.
Late last week the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) quietly announced plans to revoke H-4 visas. Since 2015, the H-4 visa has allowed spouses of H-1B visa holders seeking permanent residency to work in the U.S. This rule has especially benefited the tech community since many of the high-skilled H-1B visas are awarded to programmers, software engineers, and other high-skilled technology and IT professionals.