H1-B visa workers may soon get United States citizenship, promises Donald Trump

Donald Trump

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"H1-B 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", Mr. Trump tweeted. But it's unclear whether the revisions he has in store will put the minds of the 85,000 immigrants brought to the USA on skilled work visas each year at ease.

Trump says the U.S. wants to encourage talented and highly skilled people to pursue careers in the U.S. As a candidate, he promised to stop H-1B visas from being used as a "cheap labor program".

H-1B visa programme allows USA employers, which include Indian companies with American operations such as TCS and Infosys, to hire foreigners for speciality professions to make up for the shortage of locally available hands.

What's changing: Trump may be referring to a proposed rule introduced in December.

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. The dispute has led to a partial shutdown of the United States government that is now in its 21st day.

In the first two years of his presidency, Trump administration made it tough for the H-1B visa holders over their overstay, extension and issuing of new visa to them.

During the campaign, Mr. Trump proposed increasing the prevailing wage paid to H-1B visa holders in an effort to force companies to give entry-level jobs to an existing pool of unemployed workers in the US, instead of bringing in cheaper workers from overseas.

In November, US Citizenship and Immigration Services had proposed major changes in the H-1B application process which it said is aimed at awarding this visa to the most skilled and highest paid foreign workers.

H-1B visa-holders are often sponsored by their employers for permanent residency (better known as Green Card), which is a step away from citizenship.

Trump campaigned for president on a promise to crack down on immigrants, who he said took jobs away from U.S. citizens. In April 2017, he signed an executive order for a review of the H-1B program.

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

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