On June 22, 2020, President Trump signed an executive order suspending new H-1B, L-1, J, and other temporary work visas for the rest of the year. These work visas apply to skilled workers, managers, and executives. The goal is to protect half a million jobs to make up for the loss caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
L-1 visas are primarily focused on managers and executives for large corporations who are looking to work in a division of their company overseas. H-1B visas apply to highly skilled workers and are an important part of the workforce in the tech industry. Other workers, such as au pairs who provide childcare, will also be affected by the ban. The order is not expected to affect visa holders who are already in the United States.
Businesses are expected to oppose the measure which may have a detrimental effect on their workforce and ability to move employees around. Visas such as the L-1 and H-1B are used to fill niche positions where it isn’t always easy to find an American workforce. The move is seen by many to be counterproductive to business interests.
While the restrictions are set to end at the end of the year, they may be extended depending on the outcome of the presidential election and the state of the economy. Many companies continue to lay off workers and these jobs may never come back. Suspending temporary work visas may not solve the problem if companies aren’t hiring anyone at all.
There are some exceptions to the suspension. Workers who are necessary for healthcare related to the coronavirus are exempt. In addition, individuals whose entry would be in the national interest as determined by the federal government are also exempt.
White House officials have also noted that Trump has instructed aides to work on tightening the guest worker programs. Trump would like to move to a merit based system of immigration, especially when it comes to H-1B visas. Going forward, these visas may be awarded to those individuals who receive the highest wage offers. All of these new restrictions and suspensions are efforts by Trump to restrict immigration.
If you are interested in applying for a temporary work visa and want to know how the suspension will affect you, you should consult with an experienced immigration attorney. At Serving Immigrants, we can help you navigate the process. Contact us online or call us at (305) 907-6151 to schedule a strategy session.