Pres. Trump says changes coming on high-tech visas

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The changes were meant to "ensure our visa system benefits Americans and United States workers to the greatest extent possible and reinforces the administration's commitment to the legal immigration process", an official said on background.

President Donald Trump said his administration is looking at changing a foreign worker visa program to include a more direct path to citizenship, as he wrestles with Democrats in Congress over funding for his border wall to deter illegal migrants from entering the U.S.

H1-B visa, which is availed by a large number of Indians, is said to be simplified.

The president's tweet was unclear about what changes may be ahead for the H-1B holders, or how he will proceed with the reforms.

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

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".

The president added that his administration aims to encourage talented and well-qualified people to pursue their career goals in the United States.

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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 previous year.

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. In 2018, the United States hit the limit on the number of H-1B visas it could issue, 65,000, by the first week of April, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

It would also entail a new electronic registration system meant to streamline the application process.

Trump campaigned for president on a promise to crack down on immigrants, who he said took jobs away from USA citizens.

Silicon Valley and India have both pushed hard for a more generous visa system for skilled foreign employees, saying they are indispensable in powering the tech industry, but critics charge that native-born Americans should have priority for the generally well-paying jobs. The dispute has led to a partial shutdown of the USA government that is now in its 21st day.

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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