Trump Claims a “Path to Citizenship” Is Coming to H-1B Holders

Since 2016, the Trump Administration has executed several bold and controversial reforms that have complicated the immigration process for countless migrants and asylum-seekers. Many of the president’s new policies have faced intense public scrutiny and backlash, including the family separation policy that was introduced in early 2018. Currently, the nation waits with baited breaths for the resolution of the longest government shutdown in U.S. history.

The Future of H-1B Visas

On November 30, 2018, the Department of Homeland Security presented a proposal to modify the H-1B application process. The H-1B visa is a renewable work visa that’s valid for at least 3 years.  President Trump has vowed to crack down on the H-1B visa program, which allows 85,000 new foreigners to work in the United States each year.

The Trump Administration believes that American businesses are exploiting the H-1B lottery program to utilize temporary foreign employees. Under the new proposal, all applicants, including those with advanced university degrees, will be placed in a pool to receive one of the 65,000 available H-1B visas. Once this cap is filled, any remaining applicants with degrees may be able to claim one of the 20,000 visas specifically reserved for graduates of American universities. The proposed system prioritizes degree holders and is expected to limit the type of migrants allowed into the United States. However, this is creating a climate of uncertainty for both highly skilled foreign workers and the American firms that depend on their employment.

On January 11, 2019, President Trump tweeted that a “path to citizenship” may be available for H-1B holders: “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. We want to encourage talented and highly skilled people to pursue career options in the US.” The H-1B visa has never functioned as a permanent path to citizenship in the past. If this tweet can be taken at face value, there may be an incredible opportunity for H-1B holders to attain permanent citizenship and employment in the future.

Schedule a Consultation with an Experienced Immigration Attorney

If you require an employment-based visa for yourself or an employee, contact the Houston immigration lawyers at Fong • Ilagan. Our legal team has a comprehensive understanding of federal immigration laws and can help you successfully obtain a visa that meets your specific needs.

We look forward to helping you achieve your immigration goals. Contact Fong • Ilagan at (713) 766-0556 if you have any questions or concerns about your legal options.

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