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

In November, US Citizenship and Immigration Services had proposed major changes in the H-1B application process which it said is aimed at awarding this visa to the most skilled and highest paid foreign workers.

USA president Donald Trump on Friday pledged to reform the H-1B visa process, a skilled temporary guest worker programme widely used by Indian professionals, saying he wants to "encourage talented and highly skilled people to pursue career options in the US" and provide "a potential path to citizenship".

Trump, who has also sought to limit legal immigration, in April 2017 ordered a reform of the US visa program to benefit educated and highly skilled workers.

What's changed already: The federal government has already made changes to its H-1B approval practices with significant results, part of a broader effort to bridal the legal immigration system.

President Donald Trump told H-1B visa holders to "rest assured" because "changes are soon coming which will bring both simplicity and certainty" to their status in the United States in a tweet early Friday.

The president's softening on the legal immigration through H-1B issue did not please the American tech workers constituency that has campaigned against the H-1B guest worker program citing widespread misuse, and which supported him in hope that he will curtail it.

Trump says the U.S. wants to encourage talented and highly skilled people to pursue careers in the U.S. As a candidate, he promised to stop H-1B visas from being used as a "cheap labor program".

The proposal is created to increase by 5,340, or 16 per cent, the number of H-1B beneficiaries 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 streamline the application process with a new electronic registration system.

The President has said the wall will stem illegal immigration, and has long promised to deliver it after it was a key element of his campaign strategy. The announcement comes as Trump continues to spar with Democrats over his plan for a $5.7 billion wall along the U.S. -Mexico border.

Some Trump advisors, pandering to this nativist constituency, have been leery of the H-1B program, claiming that it brings in sub-standard low-paid foreign guest workers who take jobs from American professionals.

While it was unclear what prompted Trump´s tweet, The Washington Post on Friday ran a front-page article on how tech workers are increasingly moving from the United States to Canada due to the hassle in obtaining H1-B visas.

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