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12 January 2019, 06:41 | Darnell Patrick
US President Donald Trump speaks during a Cabinet meeting at the White House in Washington
Silicon Valley and India have both pushed hard for a more generous visa system for skilled foreign employees, saying they are indispensable in powering the tech industry, but critics charge that native-born Americans should have priority for the generally well-paying jobs.
"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. Because the current system imposes a seven per cent per country quota on allotment of Green Cards or the Legal Permanent Residency (LPR), countries such as India and China, with large population of potential or aspiring immigrants, have to wait long years to become U.S. residents. In the first two years of Trump's presidency, the administration had made it hard for H-1B visa holders over the extension and issuing of new ones.
U.S. President Donald Trump said today he is planning changes to the H-1B programme that grants temporarily visas to highly educated immigrants who work in specialty occupations such as technology or medicine. The change would also prioritize H-1B applications for workers with advanced degrees from American universities.
It's unclear what Mr. Trump meant exactly, as simplifying a path to citizenship for such visa holders would nearly certainly require approval from Congress, and the White House has made no such suggestion in its latest border security funding proposal, or any other public offer.
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.
Last month, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen told lawmakers that the U.S. should "endeavour to select the very best" among the applicants under the H-1B foreign work visa programme.
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Much Indian support in the United States for president Trump is premised on his pledge to reform the immigration system that many experts say discriminates against those to come to the country legally while favoring illegal immigrants who are beneficiaries of various amnesty and regularization programs.
Competition is tough for the temporary visas, which require a bachelor's degree. The White House did not immediately comment on what kind of changes Trump was considering.
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US companies often use H-1B visas to hire graduate-level workers in several specialized fields, including information technology, medicine, engineering and mathematics.
The proposed changes could result in a higher percentage of visas going to American tech companies, according to some experts.
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