Trump floats 'path to citizenship', says H1B changes coming soon

12 January, 2019, 00:31 | Author: Sheila Harris
  • Trump may declare national emergency to fund wall if deadlock continues

Each year, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) allots about 85,000 of the H-1B visas - 65,000 for applicants with a bachelor's degree or equivalent, and 20,000 for those with a master's degree or higher.

President Donald Trump on Friday said he is planning changes to H-1B visas, which are issued temporarily to highly educated immigrants so they can work in specialty occupations, that would create simplicity, certainty and a possibility that the workers could become US citizens.

Trump, who has also sought to limit legal immigration, in April 2017 ordered a reform of the USA visa program to benefit educated and highly skilled workers.

Trump has vowed to fix issues with the H-1B visa system and ordered federal agencies to come up with proposals for reforming it.

US President Donald Trump said Friday that he will change the H1-B visa system for professionals to ensure "certainty" and a path to citizenship for those on the visa.

During his presidential campaign, Trump suggested an increase in prevailing wages for H-1B visa-holders. "We want to encourage talented and highly skilled people to pursue career options in the US", Trump tweeted on Friday morning, hours after he returned from Texas, where he inspected the border and held a round table to make the case for Congressional funding for a border wall.

The dispute, which pits the White House against Democrats in Congress, has led to one of the longest government shutdowns in U.S. history.

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Competition is tough for the temporary visas. Trump had said a year ago that his administration plans to overhaul the program.

Previous changes the administration made in 2018 to the H-1B application process favor applications with advanced degrees.

It would also entail a new electronic registration system meant to streamline the application process.

The President has said the wall will stem illegal immigration, and has long promised to deliver it after it was a key element of his campaign strategy. The president has threatened to call a national emergency if Congress doesn't reach an agreement to fund his border wall.

The announcement of a revision in H1-B visa rules comes at a time when the United States government has reached the 21st day of shutdown on Friday, with no solution of reopening the government in the near future.

The H-1B visa in the United States allows employers to temporarily employ foreign workers in speciality occupations, such as technology or medicine.

Trump's major announcement on H-1B visas - through twitter, without any further details - comes as part of his known preference to attract and retain best talent in the US.

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