Each year, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) allots about 85,000 of the H-1B visas - 65,000 for applicants with a bachelor's degree or equivalent, and 20,000 for those with a master's degree or higher.
President Donald Trump says changes are coming in the way that the US handles temporary H1-B visas, which allow American companies to bring high-tech and other skilled workers into the USA from overseas.
The president's tweet was unclear about what changes may be ahead for the H-1B holders, or how he will proceed with the reforms.
US President Donald Trump on Friday assured H-1B visa holders, an overwhelming majority of whom are Indian IT professionals, that his administration will soon bring changes that will give them certainty to stay in America and a "potential path to citizenship".
"We want to encourage talented and highly skilled people to pursue career options in the U.S.". The change would also prioritize H-1B applications for workers with advanced degrees from American universities. "In the annual battle for H-1Bs between IT outsourcing companies and tech companies seeking longer-term workers, this rule would probably help the latter", Doug Rand, co-founder of Seattle startup Boundless Immigration and a former immigration policy official in the Obama White House, said in November. That would force companies to consider unemployed USA workers for entry-level jobs instead of bringing in workers from overseas.
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.
The president's unexpected outreach towards foreign guest workers came amid a furious debate over immigration reform and the need for a southern border wall, which he says is need to staunch illegal immigrants, while pledging to smoothen the path for legal immigration.
Democrats call the proposed wall expensive, ineffective and immoral. The dispute has led to a partial shutdown of the USA government that is now in its 21st day.
The H-1B visa allows foreigners to work in the United States for three years, with options to renew their stay.
The H-1B is non-immigrant visa that allows USA employers to hire graduate-level workers in specialty occupations, like IT, finance, accounting, architecture, engineering, science and medicine.
What it means for tech: Big tech companies apply for H-1B visas on behalf of foreign-born workers to fill their talent shortages.