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.
President Trump said Friday that he is planning an overhaul to H-1B visas - which allow foreigners to work in the U.S. temporarily in specialty occupations - that could lead to American citizenship. "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. "I can completely understand how frustrating that would be to the employer", the director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Francis Cissna, said in August previous year.
His promise on H1-Bs came just as Trump is pressing to build a wall on the Mexican border to keep out unauthorized immigrants and asylum seekers, most of whom are low-skilled, in a showdown with Congress that has triggered a shutdown of the federal government. The White House did not immediately comment on what kind of changes Trump was considering.
The proposal is created to increase the number of H-1B beneficiaries by 16 percent, or 5,340 more workers, who hold advanced degrees from American universities.
Competition is tough for the temporary visas, which require a bachelor's degree.
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It would also streamline the application process with a new electronic registration system. In 2018, the United States hit the limit on the number of H-1Bs it could issue, 65,000, by the first week of April, according to the Department of Homeland Security. The announcement comes as Trump continues to spar with Democrats over his plan for a $5.7 billion wall along the U.S. -Mexico border.
The H-1B visa, most sought-after among Indian IT professionals, is a non-immigrant visa that allows United States companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise.
The devil is in the details, said Todd Schulte, president of FWD.us, a nonprofit group which advocates for pro-immigration policies.
The change would allow immigration officials to review all H-1B applicants, including those with advanced degrees, at the same time, slightly increasing the chances that a higher percentage of the visas will go to more educated workers. The dispute has led to a partial shutdown of the US government that is now in its 21st day. Silicon Valley companies are the heaviest users of the H-1B visa.