Former United States President Donald Trump has said, if re-elected, he would automatically grant green cards to foreign graduates of US colleges.

This marks an unexpected shift from the Republican known for his tough stance on immigration.

During a podcast interview with Silicon Valley tech investors on Thursday, Trump promised to simplify the process of bringing talent to the US, Al Jazeera reports

He also stated that anyone graduating from a US college should be allowed to stay in the country.

While speaking on the All-In Podcast, hosted by Chamath Palihapitiya, Jason Calacanis, David Sacks, and David Friedberg, Trump said, “It’s so sad when we lose people from Harvard, MIT, the greatest schools, and lesser schools that are phenomenal schools also.

“I think you should get, automatically, as part of your diploma, a green card to be able to stay in this country and that includes junior colleges, too.”

A green card grants individuals the privilege of permanent residence and employment in the United States, with a potential route to citizenship.

Trump’s plan, which could lead to a significant increase of hundreds of thousands of citizenship applications annually, represents a notable shift away from his previously strict stance on immigration that defined his political ascent in the Republican Party.

Trump, who has previously made inflammatory remarks about migrants, has vowed to carry out the largest mass deportation of undocumented immigrants in US history if he wins the November election.

He has consistently criticized President Joe Biden, his Democratic opponent, for being lenient on immigration.

At a campaign rally in Wisconsin on Tuesday, Trump lambasted a new program introduced by Biden, which enables undocumented spouses of US citizens to apply for permanent residency without having to depart the country.

Trump said, “Our country is under invasion. We should not be talking amnesty, we should be talking about stopping the invasion instead.”

Approximately 11 million undocumented immigrants are residing in the United States without legal status, according to estimates provided by the Department of Homeland Security.