Trump Says He's Eyeing Citizenship Path in Worker Visa Program

12 Janvier, 2019, 00:33 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau

President Donald Trump said on Friday he is planning changes including a possible pathway to USA citizenship to foreigners holding H-1B visas, issued temporarily to highly educated immigrants who work in specialty occupations such as technology or medicine.

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.

Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, the H1-B visa permits USA employers to hire temporary foreign workers with at least a bachelor's degree, or equivalent specialized work experience, to fill needs not met by the American workforce. Holders are also eligible to be sponsored by their employers for legal permanent residency, which would make them eligible to become United States citizens.

Trump tweeted Friday that those who hold the temporary H1-B visas can "rest assured" because changes are coming that will bring "both simplicity and certainty to your stay, including a potential path to citizenship".

He was referring to a set of rule changes that were proposed by the administration last December to introduce electronic registration of petitioners to replace the lottery system, which is meant to make the process less expensive, simpler and certain - to "reduce overall costs for petitioners and create a more efficient and cost-effective H-1B cap petition process. We want to encourage talented and highly skilled people to pursue career options in the U.S", he tweeted.

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 past year.

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Immigration authorities have also pledged to revise the requirements to qualify for an H-1B visa in an effort to curb abuse and move to a more merit-based system.

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

The President has said the wall will stem illegal immigration, and has long promised to deliver it after it was a key element of his campaign strategy. The dispute has led to a partial shutdown of the U.S. government that is now in its 21st day.

According to a report from Financial Express, Amazon, Microsoft, Intel and Google were among the top 10 employers for approved H-1B visas in 2017.

But the visa programme has also drawn criticism for being used heavily by foreign outsourcing companies that squeeze out American firms.

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