Trump Says Changes Coming on High-tech Visas

President Donald Trump walks on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington Thursday Jan. 10 2019 after returning from a trip to the southern border

President Donald Trump walks on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington Thursday Jan. 10 2019 after returning from a trip to the southern border

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.

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". In the first two years of Trump's presidency, the administration had made it hard for H-1B visa holders over the extension and issuing of new ones.

Trump pledged to reform coveted H1-B visas, for which three-quarters of applicants are from India, majority in the technology sector.

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.

Also, simplifying a path to citizenship for H1-B visa holders would nearly certainly need congressional approval.

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

H1-B visas are granted to professional workers sponsored by employers for a period of three years, which can be extended once.

Trump, a Republican, and Democrats in the U.S. Congress are at an impasse, as refuses to end the longest shutdown in federal government history until he secures $5.6 billion to build a wall along the country's southern border.

There has been no further comment from the President or the White House on what changes could be implemented, or when they may come into effect. Any job that requires workers to have at least a bachelor's degree falls under the H-1B for specialty occupations. 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-1B visas it could issue, 65,000, by the first week of April, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

USA companies often use H-1B visas to hire graduate-level workers in several specialized fields, including information technology, medicine, engineering and mathematics. The dispute has led to a partial shutdown of the U.S. government that is now in its 21st day.

Throughout his presidency, Trump has sought to stem illegal immigration and to deport more immigrants living in the United States illegally.

The real estate mogul ran for president as a hardliner on immigration and has previously vowed to crack down on H1-Bs by encouraging reporting of visa fraud and insisting that businesses first hire Americans.

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