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

US President Donald Trump on Friday assured H-1B visa holders, an overwhelming majority of whom are Indian IT professionals, that his administration will soon bring changes that will give them certainty to stay in America and a "potential path to citizenship".

President Donald Trump says changes are coming in the way that the US handles temporary H1-B visas, which allow American companies to bring high-tech and other skilled workers into the USA from overseas.

The president added that his administration aims to encourage talented and well-qualified people to pursue their career goals in the United States.

His promise on H1-Bs came just as Trump is pressing to build a wall on the Mexican border to keep out unauthorized immigrants and asylum seekers, most of whom are low-skilled, in a showdown with Congress that has triggered a shutdown of the federal government.

The proposal is created to increase by 5,340, or 16 per cent, the number of H-1B beneficiaries who hold advanced degrees from American universities. The White House did not immediately comment on what kind of changes Trump was considering.

H-1B visa programme allows U.S. employers, which include Indian companies with American operations such as TCS and Infosys, to hire foreigners for speciality professions to make up for the shortage of locally available hands.

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

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Competition is tough for the temporary visas. 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.

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

Democrats say the wall project, which carries a total price tag of more than $20 billion, is expensive, ineffective and immoral.

The announcement of a revision in H1-B visa rules comes at a time when the United States government has reached the 21st day of shutdown on Friday, with no solution of reopening the government in the near future.

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

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

"This will improve the number of black, Hispanic and female workers in Silicon Valley who have been passed over in favor of the H-1B program", the Trump campaign stated in August 2015.

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