Trump Says He's Eyeing Citizenship Path in Worker Visa Program

The White House did not immediately comment on whether President Trump was considering changes beyond those proposed in new rules issued in December by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

United States President Donald Trump on Friday announced potential changes in the H1-B visas, including the provision of a "path to citizenship" for highly talented and skilled visa holders.

H-1B visa programme allows U.S. 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.

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.

He was referring to a set of rule changes that were proposed by the administration last December to introduce electronic registration of petitioners to replace the lottery system, which is meant to make the process less expensive, simpler and certain - to "reduce overall costs for petitioners and create a more efficient and cost-effective H-1B cap petition process".

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 change would also prioritize H-1B applications for workers with advanced degrees from American universities. That would force companies to consider unemployed US workers for entry-level jobs instead of bringing in workers from overseas.

Trump and Democrats in the US Congress are at an impasse over spending legislation to fund the federal government.

Mr Trump wants to include $5.6 billion for a wall along the border with Mexico.

Competition is tough for the temporary visas, which require a bachelor's degree. "This isn't it", Numbers USA, a civil immigration forum, said in response to Trump's tweet.

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

Democrats call the proposed wall expensive, ineffective and immoral.

H-1B is considered the most sought-after work visa among highly-skilled Indian professionals. The dispute has led to a partial shutdown of the USA government that is now in its 21st day.

"This will improve the number of black, Hispanic and female workers in Silicon Valley who have been passed over in favor of the H-1B program", the Trump campaign stated in August 2015.