Trump floats citizenship for H1B visa holders

Donald Trump campaigned for president on a promise to crack down on immigrants who he said took jobs away from US citizens

President Trump said Friday that he is planning an overhaul to H-1B visas - which allow foreigners to work in the USA temporarily in specialty occupations - that could lead to American citizenship.

Hundreds of thousands of foreign workers working in the United States on H-1B visas may soon be granted a path to citizenship, according to President Donald Trump.

And, two, change the processing procedures to clear more applicant masters and higher academic qualification, which would result in an estimated increase of up to 16 % (or 5,340 workers) in the number of selected H-1B beneficiaries with a master's degree or higher from a USA institution of higher education. "We want to encourage talented and highly skilled people to pursue career options in the US", Trump tweeted on Friday.

"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", Trump said on Twitter.

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

He was referring to a set of rule changes that were proposed by the administration last December to introduce electronic registration of petitioners to replace the lottery system, which is meant to make the process less expensive, simpler and certain - to "reduce overall costs for petitioners and create a more efficient and cost-effective H-1B cap petition process".

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 previous year.

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Trump issued the message on H-1B amid a government shutdown which resulted from an impasse with congressional Democrats, who are refusing to fund a security package for the southwest border that includes funds for constructing a barrier, Trump's signature campaign promise.

Doug Rand, a former White House official in the Obama administration who worked on immigration issues, said the proposed changes to the lottery selection process were at best modest and at worst could cause chaos.

Democrats call the proposed wall expensive, ineffective and immoral.

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

"The devil is in the details, said Todd Schulte, president of FWD.us, a nonprofit group which advocates for pro-immigration policies". Silicon Valley companies are the heaviest users of the H-1B visa.

U.S. companies often use H-1B visas to hire graduate-level workers in several specialized fields, including information technology, medicine, engineering and mathematics.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.

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