In surprise outreach, Donald Trump pledges to reform H-1B visa programme


It was unclear what Trump meant by a "potential path to citizenship" for H-1B visa holders, who already are eligible to be sponsored by their employers for legal permanent residency, which would make them eligible to become USA citizens.

US President Donald Trump on Friday assured H-1B visa holders, an overwhelming majority of whom are Indian IT professionals, that his administration will soon bring changes that will give them certainty to stay in America and a "potential path to citizenship". We want to encourage talented and highly skilled people to pursue career options in the U.S.

When asked about the tweet, USCIS spokesman Michael Bars pointed to the administration's proposed changes to the H-1B process, which are likely to become final later this year.

In April 2017, Trump ordered a review of the H1-B visa program to ensure that the United States admits "the most skilled and highest paid" applicants. "These proposed regulatory changes would help ensure more of the best and brightest workers from around the world come to America under the H-1B programme, including up to an estimated 16% rise in number of selected H-1B beneficiaries with a master's degree or higher from a USA institution", he said. But it's unclear whether the revisions he has in store will put the minds of the 85,000 immigrants brought to the US on skilled work visas each year at ease.

"The devil is in the details, said Todd Schulte, president of, a nonprofit group which advocates for pro-immigration policies".

It is typically issued for three to six years to employers to hire a foreign worker.

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

The United States grants 65,000 H-1B visas every year and an additional 20,000 visas for those with a master's degree or higher. The president's message on January 11 suggests that the White House has reviewed at least one proposal and has decided on a course of action.

The president has expressed openness to a broader immigration reform, but has insisted that he first wants funding for a barrier - made of concrete or steel - along the US-Mexico border. The president has threatened to call a national emergency if Congress doesn't reach an agreement to fund his border wall.

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

The proposed changes could result in a higher percentage of visas going to American tech companies, according to some experts.