Trump promises changes to H1-B visas, including potential citizenship

Politics

FILE PHOTO: Travelers make their way through Newark Liberty International Airport in Newark, New Jersey, U.S., December 24, 2018. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump on Friday said he is planning changes to H-1B visas, which are issued temporarily to highly educated immigrants so they can work in specialty occupations, that would create simplicity, certainty and a possibility that the workers could become U.S. citizens.

“H1-B [sic] holders in the United States can rest assured that changes are soon coming which will bring both simplicity and certainty to your stay, including a potential path to citizenship. We want to encourage talented and highly skilled people to pursue career options in the U.S.,” Trump said in an early morning tweet.

Trump, a Republican, and Democrats in the U.S. Congress are at an impasse, as refuses to end the longest shutdown in federal government history until he secures $5.6 billion to build a wall along the country’s southern border.

While Trump typically depicts undocumented immigrants and asylum seekers attempting to enter the country through Mexico as criminals and terrorists, he frequently praises those applying for H-1Bs, who must hold a bachelor’s degree or higher. 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.

Reporting by Lisa Lambert and Susan Heavey

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