President Trump signed an executive order on June 22 that will suspend new work visas through the end of 2020. The new restrictions are effective June 24 and expand on the 60-day green card suspension Trump ordered in April, which is set to expire June 23. The original suspension was in response to the COVID pandemic and soaring American unemployment and had many exemptions for highly skilled, healthcare and IT foreign workers. Trump announced the new work visa restrictions will “free up jobs for Americans:”
“Under the extraordinary circumstances of the economic contraction resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak, certain nonimmigrant visa programs authorizing such employment pose an unusual threat to the employment of American workers.”
The new order will last at least through the end of the year and restricts many categories exempt in the previous order, but does not apply to foreign workers “whose entry would be in the national interest,” such as coronavirus workers and researchers. A government spokesperson told reporters the visa suspension will open up 525,000 jobs for U.S. workers.
The new work visa restrictions include:
- L-1 visas for intracompany transfers and foreign corporate executives
- H-1B visas for workers in specialty occupations including highly skilled tech workers
- H-4 visa for spouses
- H-2B visas for temporary non-agricultural workers, construction and hospitality industries
- J-1 visas for exchange visitors, scholars and professors
The new executive order does not affect people outside the United States who already have valid visas and travel documents or seasonal farmworkers.
Technology and business leaders say the new order blocking over 200,000 H-1B and other skilled worker visas will stop their ability to recruit critically needed IT, technology, engineering and other workers from countries overseas – and create jobs for American workers. The New York Times spoke to Thomas J. Donohue, the chief executive of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce,
“Putting up a ‘not welcome’ sign for engineers, executives, IT experts, doctors, nurses and other workers won’t help our country, it will hold us back. Restrictive changes to our nation’s immigration system will push investment and economic activity abroad, slow growth and reduce job creation.”
Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, said via Twitter:
“Like Apple, this nation of immigrants has always found strength in our diversity, and hope in the enduring promise of the American Dream. There is no new prosperity without both. Deeply disappointed by this proclamation.”
Do you have questions about how the suspension of visas for foreign workers will impact your business? Contact the experienced immigration attorneys at Farmer, Farmer & Brown. Contact us to schedule a consultation to talk about your specific case with one of our immigration lawyers; phone (770)-422-4142 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.