Donald Trump suspends H-1B Visa and other work visas for a year

The proclamation issued by the US President Donald Trump suspends and limits the entry in the US of H-1B, H-2B, and L Visas as well as their dependents till December 31, 2020.

Created On: Jun 23, 2020 11:49 IST
US suspends work visas
US suspends work visas

Donald Trump administration on June 22 issued a proclamation to suspend the issuing of temporary work visas including H-1B visa, which is popular among Indian IT professionals, for the rest of the year.

As per the Trump administration, the step has been taken to help millions of Americans who have lost their jobs due to the ongoing economic crisis. The proclamation will come into effect on June 24, 2020, and will impact a large number of Indian IT professionals.

Donald Trump issued the proclamation ahead of the November Presidential elections and ignored the mounting opposition to the order by various lawmakers, business organisations and human rights bodies.

What the US government issued proclamation entails?

The proclamation issued by the US President Donald Trump suspends and limits the entry in the US of H-1B, H-2B, and L Visas as well as their dependents till December 31, 2020. The proclamation also includes a certain category of J Visas like a trainee, an intern, camp counsellor, teacher, or summer work travel programme.

The new rule issued by the government will apply only to those who are outside the US and do not have an official travel document and a valid non-immigrant visa other than a visa to enter the country.

As per the proclamation, it will not impact lawful permanent residents of the United States and those foreign nationals who are spouses or children of an American citizen.

Those foreign nationals who have been seeking to enter the US to provide temporary labour or services that are essential to the food supply chain have also been exempted from the latest proclamation.

Key Highlights:

The decision will impact Indian IT professionals and several Indian and American companies who were issued H-1B visas by the United States government for the fiscal year 2021 beginning October 1.

The companies and IT professionals will now have to wait till the end of the current year before approaching the US Diplomatic missions for stamping.

Those Indian IT professionals seeking the renewal of H-1B visa will also be impacted by this decision.

A senior administration official mentioned that this policy is ‘extending and expanding’ on Trump’s April pause on issuing the new green cards. It will continue beyond the initial 60- day period until the end of the year.

As per the administration, the overall unemployment rate in the US nearly quadrupled between February and May 2020. It produced some of the most extreme unemployment rates recorded by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Proclamation to suspend H-1B Visas and other work visas:

The proclamation issued by US President Donald Trump stated that in the administration of the US’s immigration system, the government must remain mindful of the impact of foreign workers on the United States labour market, specifically in the current extraordinary environment of high domestic unemployment and the depressed demand of labour.

While the May unemployment rate of 13.3% reflects a marked decline in April, millions of American citizens have remained out of work.

Donald Trump on foreign nationals and job crisis:

United States Donald Trump stated that American workers have to compete with foreign nationals in every sector of our economy, which includes against millions of aliens who enter the US to perform temporary work. These temporary workers are often accompanied by their spouses and children, who also compete against American workers.

He added that under ordinary circumstances, properly administered temporary worker programmes will provide benefits to the economy. But under the ongoing crisis because of the COVID-19 outbreak, non-immigrant visa programmes authorizing such employment pose a greater threat to the employment of American workers.

Donald Trump informed that between February and April 2020, more than 17 million United States jobs were lost in industries in which employers have been seeking to fill worker positions tied to H-2B nonimmigrant visas. He added that during the same period, more than 20 million United States workers have lost their jobs in key industries where employers have been currently requesting H-1B and L workers to fill the positions.

The unemployment rate in May for young Americans, who have to compete with certain J non-immigrant visa applicants, has been high- 29.9% for 16-19 years old and 23.2% for the 20-24-year-old group.

Donald Trump has observed that excess of labour supply is particularly harmful to the workers at the margin between employment and unemployment- those who have been typically last in during an economic expansion and first one out during an economic contraction.

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