The Trump administration announced Monday that it will suspend certain visas that allow foreigners to temporarily move to the United States to work, saying that broad restrictions will ease the economic impact ofand improve the prospects of Americans seeking employment during the pandemic.
Several guest worker programs will be suspended beginning Wednesday under a proclamation signed by President Trump that will add another layer of radical restrictions to an immigration system that the administration has worked to review during and before the pandemic.
The order, which is scheduled to last until the end of the year, will suspend H-1B visas for those in specialized fields such as the technology sector and most H-2B visas for temporary non-farm workers. The other programs that will be restricted are: J-1 cultural exchange visas for au pairs and other short-term workers; visas for spouses of H-1B and H-2B holders; and L visas for companies to relocate employees to the US USA
Professors and academics will be excluded from the J-1 visa restrictions and future H-2B visa holders who wish to work in the food processing industry will not be affected by the presidential directive. The proclamation does not affect applicants who are already in the United States or abroad who have been issued a visa.
During a call to reporters Monday afternoon, a senior administration official said the new order is part of a multifaceted strategy to prevent potential immigrants and foreign workers from competing with Americans in the job market. “President Trump is focusing on getting Americans back to work as quickly as possible after suffering this blow to our economy,” said the official, describing a “first recovery for the United States.”
According to the Department of Labor, more than 20 million people in the USA. USA They were receiving unemployment benefits from the week ending June 13.
Trump also announced on Monday an extension of another set of visa restrictions that he, also in response to the economic recession caused by the pandemic. In addition to pausing the diversity green card lottery, the April proclamation suspended certain visas for foreigners seeking to move to the US. USA Permanently through requests from family members or potential employers.
The White House estimates that both proclamations will free 525,000 jobs by the end of the year, according to the top administration official. An analysis by the nonpartisan Migration Policy Institute estimates that some 325,000 potential temporary workers and immigrants could be denied entry until December under the two restrictions. However, the immediate impact of the measure may be limited, as the State Department suspended routine visa services in March and has not yet resumed them.
In addition to the proclamation, the top administration official said Trump instructed him and other advisers to implement major changes to the H-1B program, which currently has an annual limit of 85,000 visas that are granted through a system of lottery. The official said the administration will move to scrap the lottery and replace it with a system where applicants with the highest salary offers receive assigned visas.
“This will raise both the salary level and the skill level of H-1B applicants,” said the official. “It will eliminate competition with the Americans.”
Other measures include unpublished regulation that, according to the official, would make it difficult for companies to replace the United States’ labor force with newcomers, who are generally paid lower wages. The Labor Department has also been led by Trump to set higher wages for H-1B holders and to investigate possible abuses in the program, added the senior administration official.
On Monday, the administration also released the final version of a regulation that will make most border crossers seeking asylum ineligible for work authorization. Under the rule, which is expected to take effect in late August, work permits will not be available to asylum seekers who crossed the border illegally or to those convicted of certain crimes, such as driving under the influence.
For the past three years, the Trump administration has argued that the majority of migrants traveling to the southern border submit meritless asylum applications to easily access the U.S. USA Looking for job opportunities.
Sarah Pierce, a policy analyst at the Migration Policy Institute, said there are legitimate concerns about some of the guest worker programs, including those on H-1B and J-1 visas. But she said the president’s proclamation will harm American companies that depend on foreign workers and not necessarily incite them to hire American citizens.
“There is definitely a need for us to examine these programs and their effect on the United States labor market, but that does not mean that discontinuing them all of a sudden is beneficial to American workers, and certainly will not be beneficial to employers,” he said. Pierce to CBS News.
Using the coronavirus as the primary justification, the Trump administration is making major policy changes that would have been difficult to implement unilaterally prior to the pandemic, Pierce said.
“I don’t think the administration will get away with it if it weren’t for the pandemic,” he said.
Sara Cook and Kristin Brown contributed to this report.