U.S. President Donald Trump has issued a proclamation to suspend issuing of H-1B visas, which is popular among Indian IT professionals, along with other foreign work visas for the rest of the year.
Mr. Trump said the step was essential to help millions of Americans who have lost their jobs due to the current economic crisis.
Also read: Trump’s new visa freeze order: reactions
Issuing the proclamation ahead of the November presidential elections, Mr. Trump has ignored the mounting opposition to the order by various business organisations, lawmakers and human rights bodies.
The proclamation that comes into effect on June 24, is expected to impact a large number of Indian IT professionals and several American and Indian companies who were issued H-1B visas by the U.S. government for the fiscal year 2021 beginning October 1.
They would now have to wait at least till the end of the current year before approaching the U.S. diplomatic missions to get stamping. It would also impact a large number of Indian IT professionals who are seeking renewal of their H-1B visas.
In his proclamation, Mr. Trump said that the overall unemployment rate in the United States nearly quadrupled between February and May of 2020 — producing some of the most extreme unemployment rates ever recorded by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
While the May rate of 13.3% reflects a marked decline from April, millions of Americans remain out of work.
The entry of additional workers through the H-1B, H-2B, J, and L non-immigrant visa programmes, therefore, presents a significant threat to employment opportunities for Americans affected by the extraordinary economic disruptions caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, Mr. Trump said.
The new rule would apply only to those who are outside the U.S., do not have a valid non-immigrant visa and an official travel document other than a visa to enter the country.
According to the proclamation, it does not have an impact on lawful permanent residents of the United States and foreign nationals who are spouses or child of an American citizen.
Foreign nationals seeking to enter the U.S .to provide temporary labour or services essential to the food supply chain are also exempted from the latest proclamation.