Yesterday, as part of a broader effort to limit immigration into the country. President Trump temporarily halted the issuance of new work visas and excluded many foreign nationals from seeking work in the United States.
Trump issued a broad order that will last until the end of the year, blocking visas for a wide variety of occupations, including jobs such as computer programmers and other skilled professionals who come to the country under the H-1B visa. In addition, seasonal workers in the hospitality industry, students on work-study summer programs, and au pairs who arrive under other circumstances are also affected.
The order also restricts American companies with global operations and international companies with U.S. branches from transferring foreign executives and other employees to the U.S. for months or years at a time. It also prevents spouses of foreigners working in the United States from entering the country. Officials estimate that the worker visa ban, combined with tightened restrictions on new green card issuance, would then keep up to 525,000 migrant employees outside the country for the rest of the year.
Business leaders are vehemently opposed to the directive, which has been expected for several weeks, claiming that it will prevent them from recruiting urgently needed immigrant workers for jobs that Americans are unwilling to or seemingly incapable of performing.
According to administration officials, the president's order will not affect people who already have valid visas or seasonal farm workers, whose annual numbers have fluctuated between 50,000 and 250,000 over the last 15 years. Officials said there would be a restricted exception to the rule for certain healthcare workers whose job is to work specifically on coronavirus research.
Au pairs, who come to the U.S. to care for children, who officials initially told reporters will be exempt from the order, are now banned. Later, two senior administration officials said parents could apply for waivers to the ban on a case-by-case basis, with no guarantee of approval.
Mr. Trump described the visa suspension in the order as a way to ensure that Americans are first in line for scarce jobs, a claim that immigration advocates argue does not reflect the reality of a dynamic and changing labor market. In April, the president issued an executive order suspending the issuance of green cards to most foreigners seeking to live in the United States for 60 days. However, Mr. Stephen Miller, the White House aide and the creator of the current immigration policy, and the president caved to business pressure at the time to avoid seeking to impose restrictions on visa workers.
In addition to the temporary suspensions, federal officials said Mr. Trump had directed the government to make permanent changes to a wide range of immigration regulations to deter what they called unfair competition for American jobs from foreign nationals attempting to enter the country.
Among those changes will be new methods of ensuring that high-skill visas are awarded to the highest-paid workers in the future. This change is intended to prevent companies from hiring large numbers of mid-level foreign workers to perform accounting and programming and other technology-assisted jobs, which Americans could do.
Other changes would be made to discourage immigrants from seeking asylum as a means of obtaining a work permit in the US.
It was ambiguous when those would occur.
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