Donald Trump promises USA citizenship for H-1B visa workers

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.

Almost 400,000 foreign guest workers, including more than 300,000 Indian professionals, are stuck in what is called H1-B limbo, their route to permanent residency and citizenship squeezed by country-specific quotes and the obsessive focus on resolving the illegal immigration issue at the expense of the legal immigration gridlock.

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 told H-1B visa holders to "rest assured" because "changes are soon coming which will bring both simplicity and certainty" to their status in the United States in a tweet early Friday. Trump had said previous year that his administration plans to overhaul the program.

Under the proposed rule, companies seeking foreign workers on H-1B visa - under the Congressional mandated annual caps - would first have to electronically register with US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) during a designated registration period.

Trump and Democrats in the US Congress are at an impasse over spending legislation to fund the federal government.

During his presidential campaign, Trump suggested an increase in prevailing wages for H-1B visa-holders.

Competition is tough for the temporary visas, which require a bachelor's degree.

Previous changes the administration made in 2018 to the H-1B application process favor applications with advanced degrees.

The president's unexpected outreach towards foreign guest workers came amid a furious debate over immigration reform and the need for a southern border wall, which he says is need to staunch illegal immigrants, while pledging to smoothen the path for legal immigration.

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

Some Trump advisors, pandering to this nativist constituency, have been leery of the H-1B program, claiming that it brings in sub-standard low-paid foreign guest workers who take jobs from American professionals. In April 2017, he signed an executive order for a review of the H-1B program.

While it was unclear what prompted Trump´s tweet, The Washington Post on Friday ran a front-page article on how tech workers are increasingly moving from the United States to Canada due to the hassle in obtaining H1-B visas.

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