President Trump on Monday signed an executive order temporarily suspending many nonimmigrant visas, including temporary H-1B visas popular among tech companies. Industry executives say the move will push highly skilled tech workers and prospective innovators to other countries.
The executive order also suspends for the rest of the year some J visas, including those for camp counselors and au pairs; H-2B visas for seasonal nonagricultural workers; and L-1 visas, which companies use to transfer existing employees to offices in the US. The order will not affect workers who are already in the country.
The administration says that, while the U.S. continues to suffer from the economic fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic, nonimmigrant visa programs "pose an unusual threat to the employment of American workers." The administration said the move will give U.S. workers access to an additional 525,000 jobs, including the 170,000 vacated by an April ban on green-card holders coming to the U.S.
But researchers say there's little evidence that barring new visas will help the U.S. economy recover from the pandemic. Sectors with lots of H-1B visas are more likely to have low U.S. unemployment rates, according to a recent report from the immigration- and trade-focused research group the National Foundation for American Policy, which examined U.S. visa figures from 2008 to 2018.
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