Trump touts changes for cov­eted H1-B worker visas

Plan could fa­vor ap­pli­cants in lot­tery with grad­u­ate de­grees

The Dallas Morning News - - Nation & World -

WASHINGTON — Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump on Fri­day promised changes in the way the U.S. han­dles tem­po­rary visas that al­low Amer­i­can com­pa­nies to bring high­tech and other skilled work­ers into the U.S.

In a tweet, Trump said those who hold the tem­po­rary H1­B visas can “rest as­sured” be­cause changes were com­ing that will bring “both sim­plic­ity and cer­tainty to your stay, in­clud­ing a po­ten­tial path to ci­ti­zen­ship.”

The pres­i­dent’s com­ments came amid a bit­ter Washington fight over fund­ing for his bor­der wall that has forced a par­tial gov­ern­ment shutdown.

On Fri­day, he said the U.S. wants to en­cour­age tal­ented and highly skilled peo­ple to pur­sue ca­reers in the U.S.

The changes to which he was re­fer­ring are likely a pro­posal an­nounced late last year by the De­part­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity, which over­sees im­mi­gra­tion.

The pro­posal in­cluded a shift to on­line ap­pli­ca­tions for the cov­eted visas and changed pro­ce­dures to in­crease the ad­van­tages of ap­pli­cants with grad­u­ate de­grees.

It’s a lot­tery sys­tem. There are 65,000 visas avail­able, plus an ad­di­tional 20,000 for those with ad­vanced de­grees from a U.S. in­sti­tu­tion. The ad­vanced­de­gree visas are cho­sen first, and those not se­lected are thrown into the pot of the 65,000 visas, which in­clude those with bach­e­lor’s de­grees.

Im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cials pro­posed flip­ping it so that the 65,000 visas are parceled out first to en­sure as many peo­ple with ad­vanced de­grees as pos­si­ble were al­lowed in.

“These pro­posed reg­u­la­tory changes would help en­sure more of the best and bright­est work­ers from around the world come to Amer­ica,” said Michael Bars, spokesman for U.S. Ci­ti­zen­ship and Im­mi­gra­tion Ser­vices.

Jac­que­lyn Martin/the As­so­ci­ated Press

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump said in a tweet that those who hold the tem­po­rary H1­B visas can “rest as­sured” be­cause changes were com­ing that will bring “both sim­plic­ity and cer­tainty to your stay, in­clud­ing a po­ten­tial path to ci­ti­zen­ship.”

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