The Trump administration has extended a ban on green cards issued outside the United States until the end of the year, and added a number of temporary work visas to the immigration freeze.
The administration portrayed the effort as a way to free up jobs in an economy reeling from the coronavirus.
Trump’s administration announced an extension on the visa ban on Monday[/caption]
A senior official who spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity predicted it will open up to 525,000 jobs for Americans, a claim that was immediately challenged by critics, AP reported.
The ban on new visas, which takes effect Wednesday, applies to H-1B visas, which are widely used by major American and Indian technology companies, H-2B visas for nonagricultural seasonal workers, J-1 visas for cultural exchanges and L-1 visas for managers and other key employees of multinational corporations.
There will be exemptions for food processing workers, which make up about 15% of H-2B visas, the official said.
Health care workers assisting with the coronavirus fight will continue to be spared from the green card freeze, though their exemption will be narrower.
Green cards issued abroad and work visas are affected[/caption]
But some hardliners think the extension does not go far enough[/caption]
“In the administration of our nation’s immigration system, we must remain mindful of the impact of foreign workers on the United States labor market, particularly in the current extraordinary environment of high domestic unemployment and depressed demand for labor,” Trump wrote in his presidential proclamation.
Trump imposed a 60 day ban on green cards issued abroad in April, which was set to expire Monday.
The new steps to include non-immigrant visas went a long toward appeasing hardliners, who had said Trump’s previous temporary ban did not go far enough.
“This is a bold move by the Trump administration to protect American jobs,” said Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, which advocates for restrictions. “Not all the items on our checklist of needed actions are included in today’s announcement, but the corporate lobbyists who were desperately fighting for exceptions to protect their clients access to cheap foreign labor have largely been rebuffed.”
Thomas J. Donohue, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s chief executive officer, said the measures will harm, not help, the American economy.
“Putting up a not welcome sign for engineers, executives, IT experts, doctors, nurses and other workers wont help our country, it will hold us back,” he said. “Restrictive changes to our nation’s immigration system will push investment and economic activity abroad, slow growth, and reduce job creation.”
President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the BOK Center, Saturday, June 20, 2020[/caption]
Large companies that employ from India will be impacted[/caption]
The freezes on visas issued abroad are designed to take effect immediately. Other changes, including restrictions on work permits for asylum seekers, will go through a formal rule-making process that takes months.
The administration is proposing a new way of awarding H-1B visas, the official said, awarding them by highest salary instead of by lottery.
H-1B visas are capped at 85,000 a year for people with highly specialized knowledge and minimum of a bachelors degree, often in science, technology, engineering, teaching and accounting. Critics say high-tech companies have used the visas as a tool to outsource jobs to foreigners, replacing Americans.
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Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp. was the largest H-1B employer in the 2018 fiscal year, followed by Tata Consultancy Services Ltd., Infosys Ltd., Deloitte Consulting LLP and Microsoft Corp. Other major employers include Amazon.com Inc., Apple Inc., Google and Facebook Inc.
The rule against asylum seekers, scheduled to take effect August 25, would make it much more difficult for them to get work permits by, among other things, lengthening the waiting time to apply from 150 days to a year and barring applicants who cross the border illegally.
The 328-page regulation signed by Chad Mizelle, the Homeland Security Department’s acting general counsel, who is considered an ally of White House adviser Stephen Miller, says limiting work permits will remove a major incentive for people to come to the United States for asylum.