Trump says changes coming on high-tech visas

Trump says changes coming on high-tech visas

In April 2017, President Donald Trump ordered the attorney general and the secretaries of state, labor, and Homeland Security to propose reforms to the H-1B visa system.

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 US citizens.

Trump pledged to reform coveted H1-B visas, for which three-quarters of applicants are from India, a lot of them in the technology sector. Holders are also eligible to be sponsored by their employers for legal permanent residency, which would make them eligible to become United States citizens.

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". Trump had said a year ago that his administration plans to overhaul the program. That would force companies to consider unemployed US workers for entry-level jobs instead of bringing in workers from overseas. The change would also prioritize H-1B applications for workers with advanced degrees from American universities.

But after seeing Trump's tweet Friday, he said that the "administration has used every tool at its disposal to restrict legal immigration across the board" and "it's no wonder that many companies and immigrants believe that the H-1B program is under siege".

Critics questioned why Trump tweeted about a month-old proposal at a time when he is battling with congressional Democrats over spending legislation to fund the federal government. 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.

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Competition is tough for the temporary visas, which require a bachelor's degree.

Democrats call the proposed wall expensive, ineffective and immoral.

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

The H-1B visa in the United States allows employers to temporarily employ foreign workers in speciality occupations, such as technology or medicine.

Last month, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen told lawmakers that the USA should "endeavour to select the very best" among the applicants under the H-1B foreign work visa programme.

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