United States 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".
"H-1B holders in the U.S. can be rest assured that changes are soon coming which will bring both simplicity and certainty to your stay, including a potential path to citizenship", the President wrote on Twitter on Friday, amidst a partial shutdown of the federal government and negotiations to end it.
"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", his campaign wrote in an August 2015 immigration platform, according to CBS News.
However, the visa does not provide any permanent path to citizenship for immigrant workers coming to the US.
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"These proposed regulatory changes would help ensure more of the best and brightest workers from around the world come to America under the H-1B program", Bars said.
Trump issued the message on H-1B amid a government shutdown which resulted from an impasse with congressional Democrats, who are refusing to fund a security package for the southwest border that includes funds for constructing a barrier, Trump's signature campaign promise.
It wasn't immediately clear whether Trump was referring to recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, the so-called Dreamers, illegal immigrants brought here as children who have seen their futures thrown into question after his decision to end the program a year ago.
Democrats say the wall project, which carries a total price tag of more than $20 billion, is expensive, ineffective and immoral. The dispute has led to a partial shutdown of the US government that is now in its 21st day. Some immigration experts do not believe the new registration system will be ready in time for the next lottery, which occurs in the spring. "We want to encourage talented and highly skilled people to pursue career options in the US", Trump tweeted on Friday. The H-1B system now operates as a lottery and does not offer a path to citizenship. He said his group, which was founded by tech executives including Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, remains "skeptical of vague pronouncements given the administration's track record". If enacted, it would require employers to enter an online registry for each worker they want to hire using an H-1B visa before the application period opens. The visas are heavily used in the tech sector.