Trump touts changes for coveted H1-B worker visas
Plan could favor applicants in lottery with graduate degrees
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.
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.”