US President Donald Trump on Monday enacted a pause on non-immigrant visa, including the coveted H1B, till the end of the 2020, as a measure to safeguard jobs as job losses pile up in the economy during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The move is expected to hit India hard, and has drawn criticism from the Indian and American tech fraternity. Further, Trump also extended a pause on the issuance of immigrant visas. In April, Trump announced a 60-day pause on the admittance of aliens into the US as permanent residents.
In a press release by the White House, the Trump stated through a presidential proclamation that it will be putting a stop on all these non-immigrant visas till the end of 2020, as "many workers have been hurt through no fault of their own due to coronavirus and they should not remain on the sidelines while being replaced by new foreign labor." The proclamation states that from Februrary to April, 20 million jobs (2 crore) were lost in industries that seek to fill them through visa like the H1B and L. 17 million (1.7 crore) jobs have been lost in industries seeking to fill jobs through the H2B.
The announcement not only covers the H1B, but also visas falling under:
- The H2B (for seasonal, non-agricultural workers)
- Certain L visas (consists of the L1, enabling intra-company transfers)
- Certain J visa (concerning students, study and exchanges)
The rules will apply to aliens who are outside the US or does not already possess non-immigrant visas or entry documents. It will kick in from June 24, and expire on December 31 this year. According to US Customs and Border Protection, an immigrant visa lets its holders live permanently in the US.