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AFP
January 13, 2019

Trump promises citizenship for skilled immigrants

World

AFP
January 13, 2019

WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump said late on Friday he would make it easier for top-skilled workers to stay in the United States and become citizens, offering uncharacteristic praise for immigrants’ contributions.

Trump pledged to reform coveted H1-B visas, for which three-quarters of applicants are from India, most of them in the technology sector.

"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," Trump tweeted.

"We want to encourage talented and highly skilled people to pursue career options in the US."

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.

His promise on H1-Bs came just as Trump is pressing to build a wall on the Mexican border to keep out unauthorized immigrants and asylum seekers, most of whom are low-skilled, in a showdown with Congress that has triggered a shutdown of the federal government.

While it was unclear what prompted Trump’s tweet, The Washington Post on Friday ran a front-page article on how tech workers are increasingly moving from the United States to Canada due to the hassle in obtaining H1-B visas.

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