Trump suspends H-1B, H-4 visas till year end

The decision would also impact a large number of Indian IT professionals who are seeking renewal of their H-1B visas.
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US President Donald Trump has announced to suspend issuing of H-1B and H-4 (for H-1B Spouses) visas, which is popular among Indian IT professionals, along with other foreign work visas for the rest of the year.

Donald Trump said the step was essential to help millions of Americans who have lost their jobs due to the current economic crisis.

  • The proclamation that comes into effect on June 24, is expected to impact a large number of Indian IT professionals and several American and Indian companies who were issued H-1B visas by the US government for the fiscal year 2021 beginning October 1.

They would now have to wait at least till the end of the current year before approaching the US diplomatic missions to get stamping.

  • It would also impact a large number of Indian IT professionals who are seeking renewal of their H-1B visas.
  • The proclamation suspends and limits entry into the US of H-1B, H-2B and L visas and their dependents till December 31, 2020. It also includes certain categories of J visas like an intern, trainee, teacher, camp counselor, or summer work travel programme.
  • The new rule would apply only to those who are outside the US, do not have a valid non-immigrant visa and an official travel document other than a visa to enter the country.

As per the proclamation issued by Trump,

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“In the administration of our Nation’s immigration system, we must remain mindful of the impact of foreign workers on the United States labour market, particularly in the current extraordinary environment of high domestic unemployment and depressed demand for labour.”

The May rate of 13.3 per cent reflects a marked decline from April, millions of Americans remain out of work, said Trump.

  • The proclamation also extends till the end of the year his previous executive order that had banned issuing of new green cards of lawful permanent residency.

“American workers compete against foreign nationals for jobs in every sector of our economy, including against millions of aliens who enter the United States to perform temporary work. Temporary workers are often accompanied by their spouses and children, many of whom also compete against American workers,” Donald Trump said.

He further added, “Also, the May unemployment rate for young Americans, who compete with certain J non-immigrant visa applicants, has been particularly high — 29.9 per cent for 16-19 year olds, and 23.2 per cent for the 20-24 year old group.

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“The entry of additional workers through the H-1B, H-2B, J, and L non-immigrant visa programmes, therefore, presents a significant threat to employment opportunities for Americans affected by the extraordinary economic disruptions caused by the Covid-19 outbreak.”

Trump observed that excess labour supply is particularly harmful to workers at the margin between employment and unemployment — those who are typically “last in” during an economic expansion and “first out” during an economic contraction.

  • According to the proclamation, it does not have an impact on lawful permanent residents of the United States and foreign nationals who are spouses or child of an American citizen.

Foreign nationals seeking to enter the US to provide temporary labour or services essential to the food supply chain are also exempted from the latest proclamation.

A senior administration official told journalists in a background briefing that the measures, decreed through an executive order by President Trump, would be temporary (till December 31), and would free up 525,000 jobs for American workers.

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(Source – PTI)


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