US President Donald Trump said that he would be signing an Executive Order introducing restrictions on H-1B, L-1, and other temporary work permits by Monday as part of his effort to curb immigration and help local employment in the country. Speaking to Fox News, Donald Trump said that the restrictions would make a lot of people very happy and would have very few exclusions.
Trump said, “In some cases you have to have exclusions because in some cases you have to have them for big business that have had certain people coming for a very long time, but very little exclusions and they are pretty tight and we may even go very tight for a big period of time. The US has been dealing with high unemployment rates following business closures on account of the Covid19 pandemic.”
This move would impact several thousands of Indians who were scheduled to go to the US October 1 if their petitions would have been approved. Nearly 70% of the 85,000 visas issued each year are to Indians. Immigration lawyers said that the move was unlikely to impact visa holders who are already in the US at this time, and that the restrictions could remain in place till the end of the year.
Impact on Tech Firms
This would also impact US tech firms more than Indian services companies, who, over the last few years have reduced their dependence on H-1B visas and started hiring more locally. The share of US firms like Google, Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft has been rising steadily. In fiscal 2019, seven of the top ten recipients of H-1B visas were US companies. The share of Indian companies among the top ten visa recipients has dropped from 51% to 24% from 2016-2019, according to data from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Immigration law firm LawQuest’s managing partner, Poorvi Chothani had earlier told ET that such a move could have a far reaching impact. She said, “The impact could be more than directly proportionate to the duration of the suspension — because it is not just a ban on the individuals but what it means to business for ongoing and new client projects, end-client commitments, etc.”