The White House has announced that it will prolong a ban on US work permits including H-1B visas widely used in the US Tech industry till the end of 2020.
According to a senior white House official, the move is expected to free up 525,000 jobs seen as a big deal as Trump tried to overturn job losses caused by the Coronavirus pandemic.
“President Trump is focused on getting Americans back to work as quickly as possible,” the official said.
The new Executive Order which was first signed two months ago extends and widens the freeze on new work permits for non-US citizens.
It will include H-1B visas provided for 85,000 foreign workers with special skills. This is expected to affect the US Tech industry as they hire a large number of foreign skilled workers.
The ban also extends to J visas used by Academics and Researchers, and L visas used by companies to bring in workers from their overseas branches.
Asides from trying to reverse job losses caused by the pandemic, the Trump presidency also wants to prioritize workers being offers the highest wages because they can add more value to the US economy.
“Trump is going to prioritize those workers who are offered the highest wages,” as an indicator that they can add more value to the US economy.
It will eliminate competition with Americans… in these industries at the entry level, and will do more to get the best and the brightest.” a white House Official said further.
H-2B visas for 66,000 short term, low skilled jobs in the landscaping, Food and Hospitality industries are also affected by the new ban.
H-4 visas which allows foreign spouses of US citizens to work have also been banned till the end of 2020.
Exemptions however apply to seafood processing plants, and foreigners who offer household services like child care.
The move is also expected to make it harder for Assylum seekers from gaining legal entry into the United States.
Republican Senator and strong Trump ally, Lindsey Graham critisized the move saying it will affect the US economy badly.
“Those who believe legal immigration, particularly work visas, are harmful to the American worker do not understand the American economy.” he tweeted.