Tuesday, 25 June, 2019


Donald Trump teases changes for H-1B visa holders

Bennie Garza | 12 January, 2019, 00:32

President Donald Trump's administration wants to change the foreign worker visa program to include a pathway to citizenship that's more direct.

US President Donald Trump on Friday said major changes are coming to the H-1B visa programme, which has become a popular gateway for Indians to the US, that will offer a potential path to citizenship to those holding it.

This is not Mr Trump's first attempt to overhaul visas - in April 2017, he ordered a reform of the U.S. visa program to benefit educated and highly skilled workers.

What's changed already: The federal government has already made changes to its H-1B approval practices with significant results, part of a broader effort to bridal the legal immigration system.

In a tweet, Donald Trump said: "H1-B (sic) holders in the United States can rest assured that changes are soon coming which will bring both simplicity and certainty to your stay, including a potential path to citizenship".

When asked about Trump's tweet, US Citizenship and Immigration Services spokesman Michael Bars provided a statement about a formal proposal in December for changes to the H-1B process, which are likely to become final later this year. "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. "In the annual battle for H-1Bs between IT outsourcing companies and tech companies seeking longer-term workers, this rule would probably help the latter", Doug Rand, co-founder of Seattle startup Boundless Immigration and a former immigration policy official in the Obama White House, said in November.

Competition is tough for the temporary visas, which require a bachelor's degree. The change would also prioritize H-1B applications for workers with advanced degrees from American universities.

Trump campaigned for president on a promise to crack down on immigrants, who he said took jobs away from U.S. citizens.

Democrats say the wall project, which carries a total price tag of more than $20 billion, is expensive, ineffective and immoral.

United States companies often use H-1B visas to hire graduate-level workers in specialised fields including information technology, medicine, engineering and mathematics.

According to a report from Financial Express, Amazon, Microsoft, Intel and Google were among the top 10 employers for approved H-1B visas in 2017. Silicon Valley companies are the heaviest users of the H-1B visa.

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