Donald Trump, on Tuesday, declared, by issuing a proclamation, the extension on freezing the issuance of ‘green cards’ for the immigrants who are new and also put a suspension on a range of foreign work visas, generally popular among the Indian IT professionals, including H-1B, H-2B, H-4, J, and L-1. The previous order of the banning of visas that restricted the entry of foreign workers for a period of 60 days was passed on April 22, has now been extended till the end of this year.
Although the suspension of these visas will highly affect the IT and tech sectors’ who are the maximum users of H-1B and L-1 visas, according to the Trump administration, this step was indeed essential to help the millions of Americans who are out of their job and are suffering from economic or financial crisis amidst this pandemic situation. “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 of labour”, stated the proclamation by Trump. However, according to the reports, this measure would free up to 5,25,000 jobs for American workers.
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There are almost around four lakh and one lakh H-1B and L-1 visa holders respectively, who are employed in several IT firms and engaged in intracompany transfers. Even J-1 visas are suspended, which are mostly used by doctors and researchers, except for the ones who are working on the covid-19 pandemic. The suspension of the visas, however, will not be applicable for those people who are already residing in the US on their visas. The students and optional training programme, which most of the foreign students can opt for after their graduation, also remains out of the suspension process.
President Donald Trump has completely ignored the upcoming presidential election, in November, and the bulk of people who have opposed the proclamation that includes various business organizations, lawmakers, and certain human rights bodies. The IT companies are quite disappointed with the decision and have to wait till the end of this year before approaching the US diplomatic missions to get stamped. “Immigration has contributed immensely to America’s economic success. We will continue to stand with immigrants and work to expand opportunity for all”, tweeted the Google CEO Sundar Pichai.
Apart from the suspension of these visas, the Trump administration also made certain changes in the current H-1B visa norms. The current prevalent lottery system will no longer be in process. Only highly skilled workers with high wages from their respective companies will be given favour. “These reforms will help protect the wages of American workers and ensure that foreign labour entering our country is highly skilled and does not undercut the United States labour market,” Trump stated.
(Source: moneycontrol, The Indian Express, The Economic Times, TOI)