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Trump promises changes to visas for skilled workers

Trump promises changes to visas for skilled workers

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 Trump said Friday that he is planning an overhaul to H-1B visas - which allow foreigners to work in the U.S. temporarily in specialty occupations - that could lead to American citizenship. "We want to encourage talented and highly skilled people to pursue career options in the U.S", he tweeted.

The Trump administration, she said, has stepped up its measures to detect employment-based visa fraud and abuse, but certain non-immigrant visa programmes need reform in order to protect American workers better.

Silicon Valley tech giants overwhelmingly support Democrats, which may mean that Trump is using the potential H-1B reforms as a bargaining chip to make a deal that would scupper the stalemate and end the shutdown.

The White House did not immediately comment on whether Trump was considering changes beyond those proposed in new rules issued in December by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Trump has also derided visas granted to family members of United States residents or citizens as "chain migration", and backed a Republican proposal in 2017 that would have slashed legal immigration in half.

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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.

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. The president has threatened to call a national emergency if Congress doesn't reach an agreement to fund his border wall. The dispute has led to a partial shutdown of the US government that is now in its 21st day.

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.

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.

US companies often use H-1B visas to hire graduate-level workers in several specialized fields, including information technology, medicine, engineering and mathematics.