President Donald Trump is considering suspending a number of employment visas including the H-1B in order to limit the unemployment rate in the United States due to the impact coronavirus pandemic on the US economy. The discussed suspension would only apply supposedly to new visas in the categories of the H-2B visa for short-term seasonal workers, the J-1 visa for short-term workers, and the L -1 visa for internal company transfers in addition to the H-1B. White House spokesman Hogan Gidley indicated that the “ administration is currently evaluating a wide range of options, formulated by career experts, to protect American workers and job seekers especially disadvantaged and underserved citizens – but no decisions of any kind have been made.”
The H-1B visa is the most desirable of the work visas permitting foreign nationals with skilled technical abilities possessing at the minimum a bachelors degree in a specialized field of study to work in the US for three years at a given time with a maximum of six years unless the individual has obtained permanent residence in the interim. New visa holders in the abovementioned categories could be prohibited from entering the US for a period of time.
The argument in support of the restriction on newer visas in the related categories as per the current administration is to protect US workers where they are faced with a limited number of jobs in the current stagnant economy and to address the unemployment rate by limiting the pool of workers. However, in contrast, there are numerous arguments against President Trump’s stance.
Meanwhile, the US Chambers of Commerce CEO Thomas Donohue on Thursday expressed his sentiment that as the economy rises once more, there is a need for individuals in the fields of technology, accounting, and manufacturing. Such individuals cannot be found readily in the US labor market but foreign workers possess the necessary specialized skills and knowledge to meet the vacancies. Others view foreign workers as a critical workforce that will permit the US to remain competitive in a rapidly changing technological world.
Indeed, fortune 500 companies such as Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Oracle view the move to restrict foreign work visas as impractical and unacceptable for many reasons including the fact that the foreign workforce has been at the forefront of supporting the American economy to work remotely securing the work environment and permitting people to stay connected during the shelter in place policies since the past three months. It remains to be seen as to whether the Trump administration will actually issue such a restriction on visas as many states have been reopening their economies even if slowly and the unemployment rate is easing up.