World News

Trump Says He's Eyeing Citizenship Path in Worker Visa Program

Trump Says He's Eyeing Citizenship Path in Worker Visa Program

President Donald Trump told H-1B visa holders to "rest assured" because "changes are soon coming which will bring both simplicity and certainty" to their status in the United States in a tweet early Friday.

President Trump vowed in a tweet on Friday to make changes to the H-1B visa program in the US, including offering a potential path to citizenship for visa holders.

It wasn't immediately clear whether Trump was referring to recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, the so-called Dreamers, illegal immigrants brought here as children who have seen their futures thrown into question after his decision to end the program a year ago.

President Trump hinted Friday morning about making reforms to the H-1B. US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) directed questions about it to the White House, and a response was awaited.

The Republican president has often said he wanted an immigration system that favoured educated or highly skilled people.

The proposal is created to increase by 5,340, or 16 per cent, the number of H-1B beneficiaries who hold advanced degrees from American universities. Trump has refused to sign on to a bill unless it includes $5.6 billion to build a wall along the country's southern border to prevent illegal immigration by migrants.

Immigration authorities have also pledged to revise the requirements to qualify for an H-1B visa in an effort to curb abuse and move to a more merit-based 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.

More news: FCA To Pay $800 Million For Its Dirty EcoDiesel Engines

Almost 400,000 foreign guest workers, including more than 300,000 Indian professionals, are stuck in what is called H1-B limbo, their route to permanent residency and citizenship squeezed by country-specific quotes and the obsessive focus on resolving the illegal immigration issue at the expense of the legal immigration gridlock.

The devil is in the details, said Todd Schulte, president of FWD.us, a nonprofit group which advocates for pro-immigration policies.

The H-1B is non-immigrant visa that allows US employers to hire graduate-level workers in specialty occupations, like IT, finance, accounting, architecture, engineering, science and medicine.

Democrats call the proposed wall expensive, ineffective and immoral.

The announcement of a revision in H1-B visa rules comes at a time when the U.S. 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 allows foreigners to work in the United States for three years, with options to renew their stay. The visas are heavily used in the tech sector.