New York: US President Donald Trump will prolong a ban on US employment permits to year-end and broaden it to include H1-B visas used widely in the tech industry to ensure American workers take first priority as the nation starts recovering from the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic, the White House said on Monday.
“President Trump is extending the pause on new immigrant visas through the end of the year to ensure we continue putting American workers first during our ongoing coronavirus recovery,” the White House said. “President Trump is building on this measure with an additional pause on several job-related non-immigrant visas–H-1Bs, H-2Bs without a nexus to the food-supply chain, certain H-4s, as well as Ls and certain Js–preserving jobs for American citizens,” it added. The statement also noted that many workers have been hurt through no fault of their own due to coronavirus and they should not remain on the side-lines while being replaced by new foreign labour.
The new policy is “extending and expanding” on Trump’s April pause on issuing new green cards, which will continue beyond the initial 60-day period until the end of the year, according to a senior administration official. The move would free up 525,000 jobs, making a dent in the high unemployment rate caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the official added. Under these reforms, the H-1B program will prioritise those workers who are offered the highest wage, ensuring that the highest-skilled applicants are admitted, the White House said. The Trump administration will also close loopholes that have allowed employers in the United States to replace American workers with low-cost foreign labour, the statement said further.
The development marks the latest efforts to bar the entry of immigrants to the country. So now the question is: How will it affect Indians? Here’s some explanation to this; Well, before we get into the details, it is imperative to note that Indians are the single largest group of H1-B visa-holders accounting for nearly 74 per cent of the work visas.
1. US President Donald Trump has suspended till the end of the year the H-1B visas prized by Indian professionals and announced a far-reaching reform plan that could deal a blow to Indian companies that place technology workers in US companies.
2. The freeze ordered by Trump on Monday will not affect those already in the US on the H-1B and the other work visa categories being put on pause.
3. A senior official said that one of its features would ban companies from bringing in employees on H-1B visas and outplace them to work in other US companies. Many Indian and some US companies that act as subcontractors sponsoring workers on H-1B visas and deputing them once they are in the US to work elsewhere could see their business model hit.
4. Those in the healthcare field and those considered important for national security will be exempt and continue to receive visas, as will farmworkers and nannies.
5. H-2B visas are for non-professional workers. An exemption is be made for agricultural labour in this category on whom the US food supply depends, the official said.
6. The H-4 visas are for spouses of H-1B workers and the restrictions are linked.
7. Under new rules announced on Monday by the immigration service, asylum applicants cannot apply for work authorisation for a year instead of the current 150 days.