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Trump says ‘changes are soon coming’ for workers with H-1B visas. But what is that?

President Donald Trump tweeted Friday morning that “changes are soon coming” for immigrant employees with H-1B visas that allow non-American citizens with bachelor degrees to work in certain US industry jobs.
President Donald Trump tweeted Friday morning that “changes are soon coming” for immigrant employees with H-1B visas that allow non-American citizens with bachelor degrees to work in certain US industry jobs. AP

On Friday, President Donald Trump took to Twitter to announce that “changes are soon coming” for immigrant workers with H-1B visas.

“H1-B (sic) 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 U.S.”

But just what is an H-1B visa?

It allows non-American citizens, who have at least a bachelor’s degree, to work in the United States in fields like science and medicine.

Among those applying to use the visa workers are companies that have been awarded millions of dollars in state grants under agreements to create jobs in Charlotte and elsewhere.

Those non-American citizens with bachelor’s degrees can apply for the 65,000 H-1B visas allotted for them, according to The New York Times, while those with master’s degrees have another 20,000 reserved just for those with their education level.

Around 80 percent end up going to Indian citizens, The New York Times reported. The visa usually lasts for three years, but can be shorter.

If the applicants exceed the number of allotted visas, then the government uses a “computer-generated random selection process to select enough H-1B petitions to meet the congressionally-mandated cap,” according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Aside from a “potential path to citizenship,” it’s unclear what changes Trump was hinting at.

As reported by The Associated Press, “a draft proposal circulated in January to review regulations, find ways to allocate visas more efficiently and ensure that beneficiaries are ‘the best and the brightest.’”

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