Wednesday, 26 June, 2019

High-Skilled Immigrants Could Get Path to Citizenship

Trump may declare national emergency to fund wall if deadlock continues On H1-B visa, Donald Trump promises citizenship, welcomes talented, skilled people to US
Patty Aguilar | 12 January, 2019, 06:38

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".

The tweet came as a partial government shutdown enters its fourth week amid an impasse over Trump's demand that lawmakers to allot $5.7 billion for construction of his proposed wall along the U.S. -Mexico border, a central 2016 campaign promise.

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 said that foreign workers should be selected based on skill and paygrade and must not replace Americans.

Each year, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) allots about 85,000 of the H-1B visas - 65,000 for applicants with a bachelor's degree or equivalent, and 20,000 for those with a master's degree or higher.

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. The White House did not immediately comment on what kind of changes Trump was considering.

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And, two, change the processing procedures to clear more applicant masters and higher academic qualification, which would result in an estimated increase of up to 16 % (or 5,340 workers) in the number of selected H-1B beneficiaries with a master's degree or higher from a USA institution of higher education.

President Trump hinted Friday morning about making reforms to the H-1B.

Some Trump advisors, pandering to this nativist constituency, have been leery of the H-1B program, claiming that it brings in sub-standard low-paid foreign guest workers who take jobs from American professionals. In April 2017, he signed an executive order for a review of the H-1B program.

Under the proposed rule, companies seeking foreign workers on H-1B visa - under the Congressional mandated annual caps - would first have to electronically register with US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) during a designated registration period.

The real estate mogul ran for president as a hardliner on immigration and has previously vowed to crack down on H1-Bs by encouraging reporting of visa fraud and insisting that businesses first hire Americans.

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