President Donald Trump on Friday said he is planning changes to H-1B visas, which are issued temporarily to highly educated immigrants for working in specialty occupations. This policy would create simplicity and certainty for high-tech and skilled workers to 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 a tweet.
H1-B 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.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 11, 2019
Trump typically depicts undocumented immigrants and asylum seekers attempting to enter the country through Mexico as criminals and terrorists. However, he frequently praises those applying for H-1Bs, who must hold a bachelor’s degree or higher, reported by Reuters.
A draft proposal circulated in January to review regulations, find ways to allocate visas more efficiently and ensure that beneficiaries are “the best and the brightest,” according to AP.
H-1B visa holders are currently required to have specialized knowledge and, at minimum, a bachelor’s degree.
The latest rules, announced last November by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), would require companies that seek to hire foreigners to pre-register electronically with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) during a designated period in advance of the annual H-1B lottery.
The lottery takes place every April, and within days the quota is usually filled through random selection. The number of H-1B visas is capped at 65,000, with an additional 2,000 for advanced-degree holders.
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.
President Donald Trump’s Buy American and Hire American executive order, issued in April 2017, directed DHS and other agencies to “suggest reforms to help ensure that H-1B visas are awarded to the most-skilled or highest-paid petition beneficiaries.”