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Skilled workers could be the big winners from US President Donald Trump’s immigration reforms, experts say, as Chinese waiting to hear about green cards welcomed the proposed changes.

Trump announced in his state-of-the-union address on Tuesday evening US time that he planned to end the US visa lottery system as well as “chain migration”, where immigrants can sponsor relatives to live in the United States.

Rather than the visa lottery system that “randomly hands out green cards without any regard for skill, merit, or the safety of our people”, it was time for the US to move towards a “merit-based immigration system – one that admits people who are skilled, who want to work, who will contribute to our society, and who will love and respect our country”, Trump said in his speech.

He also moved to end “chain migration”, which he described as allowing “a single immigrant [to] bring in virtually unlimited numbers of distant relatives”.

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“Under our plan, we focus on the immediate family by limiting sponsorships to spouses and minor children. This vital reform is necessary, not just for our economy, but for our security, and our future,” he said.

“Where there is a price, there is always an opportunity. The lottery quota should flow back to skilled workers,” said John Hu, a Hong Kong-based immigration consultant.

“This is a big plus for skilled migrants. If Trump uses a points-based system, the highest points granted a visa, so it opens more opportunities to skilled migrants.”

Chinese skilled workers, including those from Hong Kong, could benefit from the changes as those with skills would be prioritised in the immigration queue, he said.

The proposed changes could mean a shorter wait for a green card for Chinese skilled workers. Photo: AFP

The United States issued 35,350 immigrant visas last year for people

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