Trump says changes coming on high-tech visas

Each year, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) allots about 85,000 of the H-1B visas - 65,000 for applicants with a bachelor's degree or equivalent, and 20,000 for those with a master's degree or higher.

United States president Donald Trump on Friday pledged to reform the H-1B visa process, a skilled temporary guest worker programme widely used by Indian professionals, saying he wants to "encourage talented and highly skilled people to pursue career options in the US" and provide "a potential path to citizenship".

Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, the H1-B visa permits United States employers to hire temporary foreign workers with at least a bachelor's degree, or equivalent specialized work experience, to fill needs not met by the American workforce.

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.

Trump tweeted Friday that those who hold the temporary H1-B visas can "rest assured" because changes are coming that will bring "both simplicity and certainty to your stay, including a potential path to citizenship".




The Trump administration, she said, has stepped up its measures to detect employment-based visa fraud and abuse, but certain non-immigrant visa programmes need reform in order to protect American workers better.

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 is a non-immigrant visa that allows United States companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. 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.

The devil is in the details, said Todd Schulte, president of FWD.us, a nonprofit group which advocates for pro-immigration policies. The announcement comes as Trump continues to spar with Democrats over his plan for a $5.7 billion wall along the U.S. -Mexico border. The dispute has led to a partial shutdown of the U.S. government that is now in its 21st day.

"This will improve the number of black, Hispanic and female workers in Silicon Valley who have been passed over in favor of the H-1B program", the Trump campaign stated in August 2015.

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

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