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Obama Could Act on Foreign Workers' H-1B Visas Without Congressional Approval

With Congress failing to agree on immigration reform, President Barack Obama is promising to bring changes through executive actions. He has options that may have broad impacts on immigration generally, as well as the H-1B and green card visa systems.

Obama could, for instance, expand permanent residency immigration, or green cards for family, diversity and employment-based categories by ending the practice of counting dependents against the cap.

The president could also try to make changes to the H-1B visa program, possibly by creating a priority system that favors U.S.-based firms or by setting restrictions that affect the largest users offshore outsourcing firms thus, making it easier for other firms competing for the 85,000 H-1B visas.

The administration has not outlined its next steps on immigration, but it does have ways of changing immigration without Congressional action.

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