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 USA citizens.
However, the visa does not provide any permanent path to citizenship for immigrant workers coming to the US.
US President Donald Trump on Friday assured H-1B visa holders, an overwhelming majority of whom are Indian IT professionals, that his administration will soon bring changes that will give them certainty to stay in America and a "potential path to citizenship". "We want to encourage talented and highly skilled people to pursue career options in the U.S".
USA companies often use H-1B visas to hire graduate-level workers in several specialized fields, including information technology, medicine, engineering and mathematics.
Trump's tweet comes as a good news for Indian professionals, especially in the IT sector, who now have to wait for almost a decade to get a Green Card or permanent legal residency.
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 past year.
Silicon Valley tech giants overwhelmingly support Democrats, which may mean that Trump is using the potential H-1B reforms as a bargaining chip to make a deal that would scupper the stalemate and end the shutdown.
Meanwhile, the president continues to put his immigration agenda front and center.
Democrats call the proposed wall expensive, ineffective and immoral.
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.
Previous changes the administration made in 2018 to the H-1B application process favor applications with advanced degrees.
The H-1B visa, most sought-after among Indian IT professionals, is a non-immigrant visa that allows U.S. companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise.
While it was unclear what prompted Trump´s tweet, The Washington Post on Friday ran a front-page article on how tech workers are increasingly moving from the United States to Canada due to the hassle in obtaining H1-B visas. In April 2017, he signed an executive order for a review of the H-1B program.
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