The H-1B visa, under the Immigration and Nationality Act, lets USA employers temporarily employ foreign workers with at least a bachelor's degree for speciality occupations.
President Donald Trump said Friday changes are coming to US policies for specialty visas for immigrants working in the United States, including a path to citizenship.
Trump said in an early morning tweet: "H1-B holders in the U.S. can rest assured that changes are soon coming which will bring both simplicity and certainty to your stay, including a potential path to citizenship".
Also, simplifying a path to citizenship for H1-B visa holders would nearly certainly need congressional approval.
"We want to encourage talented and highly skilled people to pursue career options in the USA", he added. Trump, a Republican, has embraced changes to the immigration system to favor educated or highly skilled people.
Doug Rand, a former White House official in the Obama administration who worked on immigration issues, said the proposed changes to the lottery selection process were at best modest and at worst could cause chaos. "Trump's tweet is a distraction from the fact that the administration's H-1B policies and its actions more broadly are actually making everything more hard for legal immigrants across the board", said Doug Rand, the president of Boundless Immigration, a technology company helping people navigate the immigration process.
Democrats call the proposed wall expensive, ineffective and immoral. The dispute has led to a partial shutdown of the USA government that is now in its 21st day. But after seeing Trump's tweet Friday, he said that the "administration has used every tool at its disposal to restrict legal immigration across the board" and "it's no wonder that many companies and immigrants believe that the H-1B program is under siege".
Competition is tough for the temporary visas, which require a bachelor's degree. Another is the path to permanent residence and eventual citizenship because of the current minimum wait of 10 years for Indian professionals to get their green cards.
In April 2017, President Donald Trump ordered the attorney general and the secretaries of state, labor, and Homeland Security to propose reforms to the H-1B visa system.
H-1B visa programme allows United States employers, which include Indian companies with American operations such as TCS and Infosys, to hire foreigners for speciality professions to make up for the shortage of locally available hands.
The real estate mogul ran for president as a hardliner on immigration and has previously vowed to crack down on H1-Bs by encouraging reporting of visa fraud and insisting that businesses first hire Americans. Only the headline has been changed.
This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.