Pres. Trump says changes coming on high-tech visas

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

President Trump floated a "potential path to citizenship" for H1-B visa holders in an early Friday morning tweet, as the partial government shutdown is set to become the longest shutdown on record.

Trump on Friday tweeted that his administration is planning an overhaul of USA policies on H-1B visa and will encourage talented and highly-skilled people to pursue career options in the US.

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.

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.

"We want to encourage talented and highly skilled people to pursue career options in the U.S.". Trump had said a year ago that his administration plans to overhaul the program.

"Mr. president, what about American tech workers who are being displaced by H-1B guest workers and recent college grads who can't find jobs in STEM fields?" It would also streamline the application process with a new electronic registration system.

Michael Bars, a USCIS spokesperson, said in a statement, "These proposed regulatory changes would help ensure more of the best and brightest workers from around the world come to America under the H-1B program, including up to an estimated 16% rise in number of selected H-1B beneficiaries with a master's degree or higher from a USA institution". The White House did not immediately comment on what kind of changes Trump was considering.

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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 announcement of a revision in H1-B visa rules comes at a time when the U.S. government has reached the 21st day of shutdown on Friday, with no solution of reopening the government in the near future. The H-1B system now operates as a lottery and does not offer a path to citizenship.

Trump has vowed to fix issues with the H-1B visa system and ordered federal agencies to come up with proposals for reforming it.

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

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

What it means for tech: Big tech companies apply for H-1B visas on behalf of foreign-born workers to fill their talent shortages.

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