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In a much relief to Indian IT professionals in the United States, president Donald Trump on Friday assured H-1B visa holders that his administration will soon bring changes that will give them certainty to stay in America and a "potential path to citizenship".
Trump in a tweet on Friday said that his administration is planning an overhaul of U.S. policies on H-1B visa and will encourage talented and highly-skilled people to pursue career options in the U.S.
H1-B holders in the United States can rest assured that changes are soon coming which will bring both simplicity and certainty to your stay, including a potential path to citizenship. We want to encourage talented and highly skilled people to pursue career options in the U.S.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 11, 2019
Trump's tweet came as good news for Indian Information Technology (IT) professionals, who currently have to wait for nearly a decade to get a Green Card or permanent legal residency.
Trump administration in the first two years of the time period, made it tough for the H-1B visa holders over their overstay, extension, and issuing of a new visa to them.
The H-1B visa, most sought-after among Indian IT professionals, is a non-immigrant visa that allows the U.S. companies to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise.
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The major announcement by Trump, who has been talking about a merit-based immigration system to cut down overall immigration to the U.S., comes as part of his known preference to attract and retain the best talent in the U.S.
Earlier this month, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen told lawmakers that the U.S. should "endeavor to select the very best" among the applicants under the H-1B foreign work visa programme.
The number of H-1B petitions routinely exceeds the statutory cap, and among that pool of petitions, we should endeavor to select the very best for the privilege of coming to the U.S. for work, the Homeland Security Secretary said.
The Trump administration, she said, has stepped up its measures to detect employment-based visa fraud and abuse, but certain non-immigrant visa programs need reform in order to protect American workers better.
In November, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services had proposed major changes in the H-1B application process which it said is aimed at granting this visa to the most skilled and highest paid foreign workers.
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Under the proposed rule, companies seeking foreign workers on H-1B visa under the Congressional mandated annual caps - would first have to electronically register with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) during a designated registration period.
Little Hope Seen
"We see some hope. President Sir we would be very happy if you can clear the humongous Green Card backlog. You will become the undisputed leader for 1 million citizens in making," Jyotsna Sharma tweeted.
"I have been here for 12 years. I came under j1 visa and then, through my scientific contributions, I earned a H1B visa. My green card process is pending for 4 years, and I have several coworkers, in similar situation. We are not criminals. We followed the rules. Help us!" one Ronald Herrera said.
"Thanks a ton for giving a hope and assurance, legal immigrants are contributing to US economy (billion dollar companies, universities, real estate etc.,) and yet waiting for decades on certainty. #MAGA #legalimmigration #H1B," Indian techie Manofjoy tweeted.
However, former Obama administration official Leon Fresco, who has been working among H-1B visa holders for the past two years cautioned against too much hope.
"Dont get hopes up folks, as we know what has been said about DACA and actually done to DACA recipients, but if something helpful happens, be pleasantly shocked," he tweeted.
great article here on the latest H-1B news. Dont get hopes up folks, as we know what has been said about DACA and actually done to DACA recipients, but if something helpful happens, be pleasantly shocked. https://t.co/mFiRLVsljw— Leon Fresco (@FrescoLeon) January 11, 2019