Published: 2019-01-12 00:53:27 BdST
"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 US"
It was unclear what Trump meant by a "potential path to citizenship" for H-1B visa holders, who already are eligible to be sponsored by their employers for legal permanent residency, which would make them eligible to become US citizens.
The White House did not immediately comment on whether Trump was considering changes beyond those proposed in new rules issued in December by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Trump, a Republican, has embraced changes to the immigration system to favour educated or highly skilled people.
FILE PHOTO: People wait in line to attend TechFair LA, a technology job fair, in Los Angeles, California, US, January 26, 2017. Reuters
Democrats call the proposed wall expensive, ineffective and immoral. The dispute has led to a partial shutdown of the US government that is now in its 21st day.
Trump, who has also sought to limit legal immigration, in April 2017 ordered a reform of the US visa program to benefit educated and highly skilled workers.
Competition is tough for the temporary visas, which require a bachelor's degree. In 2018, the United States hit the limit on the number of H-1Bs it could issue, 65,000, by the first week of April, according to the Department of Homeland Security.
US companies often use H-1B visas to hire graduate-level workers in several specialised fields, including information technology, medicine, engineering and mathematics.
When asked about Trump’s tweet, USCIS spokesman Michael Bars pointed to the administration’s proposed changes to the H-1B process, which are likely to become final later this year.
The proposal is designed to increase the number of H-1B beneficiaries by 16 percent, or 5,340 more workers, who hold advanced degrees from American universities. It would also entail a new electronic registration system meant to streamline the application process.