Donald Trump promises U.S. citizenship for H-1B visa workers

Marsha Scott
January 12, 2019

It was unclear what Trump meant by a "potential path to citizenship" for H-1B visa holders, who already are eligible to be sponsored by their employers for legal permanent residency, which would make them eligible to become USA citizens.

US President Donald Trump said on Friday (Jan 11) he plans changes to the H-1B programme that grants temporary visas for specialty occupations such as technology or medicine, but his administration said later he was referring to changes that were proposed past year.

The H1-B visa program allows companies to hire foreign workers for some skilled occupations.

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.

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.

But under an executive order signed by Trump in April 2017 - "Buy American and Hire American" - it's become more hard for US companies to hire people via H-1B.

"We want to encourage talented and highly skilled people to pursue career options in the USA", he added.

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.

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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.

It would also entail a new electronic registration system meant to streamline the application process. That would force companies to consider unemployed US workers for entry-level jobs instead of bringing in workers from overseas.

The president's unexpected outreach towards foreign guest workers came amid a furious debate over immigration reform and the need for a southern border wall, which he says is need to staunch illegal immigrants, while pledging to smoothen the path for legal immigration.

The partial government shutdown over the impasse between the White House and congressional Democrats regarding the wall funding entered its 21st day Friday - tying the longest ever.

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

And in November 2018, the U.S. Department of Labor began requiring employers of H-1B recipients use a new labor condition application form.

The United States grants 65,000 H-1B visas every year and an additional 20,000 visas for those with a master's degree or higher.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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