The U.S. government has suspended work visas for foreigners until the end of the year.
President Donald Trump signed an executive order extending the 60-day ban on immigration to the country and non-immigrant worker visas, including H-1B, H-2B, and certain categories of H-4, J, and L visas.
The earlier ban on the entry of non-immigrant workers expired on Tuesday.
Trump is extending the pause on new immigrant visas until December 31 to ensure first priority to American workers for domestic jobs as the country recovers from the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the White House.
The Trump Administration also extended a ban on some new green cards – which grants permanent residence to foreigners.
It has also finalized regulations to eliminate the incentive to file an asylum application for the primary purpose of obtaining an Employment Authorization Document.
“With some exceptions, we should not permit large numbers of foreign workers to enter the United States at a time when so many Americans are out of work,” the White House said in a press release.
Washington’s denial of these popular work visas is estimated to affect the employment opportunity of about 525,000 high-skilled tech workers, non-agricultural seasonal helpers, au pairs and top executives in the U.S.
Describing the reforms as part of “moving to a merit-based immigration system,” the White House said that under these reforms, the H-1B program will prioritize those workers who are offered the highest wage, ensuring that the highest-skilled applicants are admitted.
It will also close loopholes that have allowed employers to replace American workers with low-cost foreign labor.
Foreign work visas have been a big advantage for Silicon Valley companies who hire workers from human resources-rich countries such as India to fill a vacuum of highly-skilled low-cost employees in IT and other sectors. But it led to allegations that it reduced the wages of domestic workers who compete with immigrants.
The United States issues a maximum of 85,000 H-1B visas annually, which remains the most popular U.S. work visa among Indian IT companies.
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