Published: Sat, January 12, 2019
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

Trump floats 'path to citizenship', says H1B changes coming soon

Trump floats 'path to citizenship', says H1B changes coming soon

The statement comes amid heated debates over the Trump administration's immigration policy and the president's plans to build a wall along the USA border with Mexico.

Hundreds of thousands of foreign workers working in the United States on H-1B visas may soon be granted a path to citizenship, according to President Donald Trump.

The H1-B visa program allows companies to hire foreign workers for some skilled occupations. 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 United States residents.

US President Donald Trump said Friday that he will change the H1-B visa system for professionals to ensure "certainty" and a path to citizenship for those on the visa.

Trump says the U.S. wants to encourage talented and highly skilled people to pursue careers in the U.S. As a candidate, he promised to stop H-1B visas from being used as a "cheap labor program".

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

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.

During the campaign, Mr. Trump proposed increasing the prevailing wage paid to H-1B visa holders in an effort to force companies to give entry-level jobs to an existing pool of unemployed workers in the USA, instead of bringing in cheaper workers from overseas.

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Mr Trump wants to include $5.6 billion for a wall along the border with Mexico.

Democrats call the proposed wall expensive, ineffective and immoral.

The devil is in the details, said Todd Schulte, president of, a nonprofit group which advocates for pro-immigration policies.

The H-1B visa, under the Immigration and Nationality Act, lets US employers temporarily employ foreign workers with at least a bachelor's degree for speciality occupations.

The partial government shutdown over the impasse between the White House and congressional Democrats regarding the wall funding entered its 21st day Friday - tying the longest ever.

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

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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