Trump extends freeze on H-1B, other work visas until March 31 – The Economic Times

Clipped from: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/international/world-news/president-trump-extends-visa-ban-health-coverage-policy-advances-till-march-31/articleshow/80055942.cmsSynopsis

The visa bans had been issued in April and June to protect American jobs and were set to expire on December 31. Extending the ban to March means US president-elect Joe Biden may have to take a tough call on whether to revoke it – and risk being seen as anti-American labour – or let it lapse in March, which goes against his more liberal pro-immigration stance.

The Donald Trump administration extended a ban on immigrants travelling to the US on work-based visas and green cards till March 31, a move that directly impacts several H-1B visa holders.

The visa bans had been issued in April and June to protect American jobs and were set to expire on December 31. Extending the ban to March means US president-elect Joe Biden may have to take a tough call on whether to revoke it – and risk being seen as anti-American labour – or let it lapse in March, which goes against his more liberal pro-immigration stance.

The move mainly impacts those who had been issued H-1B visas in April, effective October 1, 2020.

Reuters reported that Biden, who takes charge as president on January 20, criticised the restrictions, but did not say whether he would immediately reverse them.

“The visa ban extension contradicts its rationale to protect US jobs after Trump’s recent message that the unemployment rate is below 6.7%. It is Trump’s last gasp to hurt immigration that benefits the US and is promoting economic recovery,” immigration attorney Cyrus Mehta said on Twitter.

In October, a US judge issued a preliminary injunction against the ban on the entry of H-1B, L-1 and other non-immigrant visa holders, applicable to the plaintiffs in the lawsuit. This included members of the National Association of Manufacturers, the National Retail Federation, Technet, Intrax and the US Chamber of Commerce, representing several large companies including Facebook, Google and Uber. The US Department of Justice appealed the decision, and the next hearing is scheduled on January 19.

The proclamation said, “The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) continues to significantly disrupt Americans’ livelihoods. While the November overall unemployment rate in the US of 6.7% reflects a marked decline from its April high, there were still 9,834,000 fewer seasonally adjusted nonfarm jobs in November than in February of 2020.”

While several Indian and US tech companies criticised the ban in June, it hasn’t had a very significant impact on business because many employees are still working remotely. In August, the US Department of State announced ‘national interest exemptions’ to the presidential proclamations, including technology workers on H-1B/L-1 visas providing critical infrastructure services, as well as exceptions for visa holders returning to the US in the same position with the same employer and visa classification.

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