Trump Hints H1 B Visa Changes Could Include Path To Citizenship

Jan. 11 (UPI) -- President Donald Trump said Friday changes are coming to U.S. policies for specialty visas for immigrants working in the United States, including a path to citizenship.

Trump made the remarks on Twitter for a move his administration has hinted at since the president took office, as part of an effort to attract top foreign engineers to the United States.

"H1-B [visa] 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," Trump wrote. "We want to encourage talented and highly skilled people to pursue career options in the U.S.

Trump didn't offer specifics of a deal, but has pointed to possible changes to the H1-B system during the federal shutdown, which entered its 21st day Friday. The impasse hinges on his demands for a security wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

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While some of the president's foes have expressed worry that Trump may crack down on skilled foreign workers, the Twitter post suggests he may change rules in their favor.

The H1-B is a temporary visa that allows employers to petition for highly educated foreign professionals to work in "specialty occupations" that require at least a bachelor's degree, the American Immigration Council states on its website.

Those jobs often include positions in mathematics, engineering and technology and the visa lasts up to six years. Trump's suggestion about a path to citizenship would be something new.

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The potential change is part of Trump's ongoing immigration reform strategy that includes a proposed border wall between the United States and Mexico. The federal government ran out of money on Dec. 21 and Trump has refused to sign any new spending bills unless billions are dedicated to construction of the barrier.

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