H-1B and other visas suspended by US President Donald Trump till 31st December

United States President Donald Trump has issued a proclamation to suspend issuing of H-1B visas, which is popular among Indian IT professionals, along with other foreign work visas for the rest of the year.

Trump said the step was essential to help millions of Americans who have lost their jobs due to the current economic crisis triggered by the novel coronavirus pandemic.

However, students and optional training programme, which foreign students can avail after graduation remain unaffected.

The suspension will impact IT and technology companies, one of the biggest beneficiaries of H-1B and L-1 visas. There are about four lakh H-1B and one lakh L-1 visa holders from Indian in the US, many employed in several IT firms.

Issuing the proclamation ahead of the November presidential elections, Trump has ignored the mounting opposition to the order by various business organisations, lawmakers and human rights bodies.

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 issued by Trump said, “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.”

Millions still out of work

In his proclamation, Trump said that the overall unemployment rate in the United States nearly quadrupled between February and May of 2020 — producing some of the most extreme unemployment rates ever recorded by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

While the May rate of 13.3 percent reflects a marked decline from April, millions of Americans remain out of work.

Trump said, “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. Under ordinary circumstances, properly administered temporary worker programmes can provide benefits to the economy. But under the extraordinary circumstances of the economic contraction resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak, certain non-immigrant visa programmes authorising such employment pose an unusual threat to the employment of American workers.”


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