Effective today, the Trump administration has issued a proclamation that suspends the issuing of multiple work visas, including the H-1B, the H-2B, the J, and the L visas. This doesn’t apply to workers currently in the United States or anyone with a nonimmigrant visa who currently resides here. It also includes certain exceptions for individuals who are providing essential labor, such as healthcare, medical research, agricultural work, or other work related to the food supply chain.
The Proclamation also doesn’t apply to:
- Lawful permanent residents
- The spouse or child of a US citizen
- Temporary essential workers for food supply chain
According to the White House, the proclamation is intended to protect American workers from competition by limiting entry of high-skilled or highly paid workers into the United States. The proclamation will keep foreign nationals from filling approximately 525,000 positions. The industries affected most by the ban include the technology sector, landscaping, and forestry.
For more information on this proclamation, check out our quick info sheet.
Criticism of the Presidential Proclamation
Critics like the US Chamber of Commerce say the suspension of these visas will do more economic harm than good. H-1B visas apply to highly skilled workers such as engineers, executives, IT experts, and other crucial parts of the American economy, while H-2B visas for temporary workers could harm industries that rely on foreign nationals for short-term or seasonal projects.
“Putting up a ‘not welcome’ sign for engineers, executives, IT experts, doctors, nurses and other workers won’t help our country, it will hold us back,” said Thomas Donohue, President of the US Chamber of Commerce. “Restrictive changes to our nation’s immigration system will push investment and economic activity abroad, slow growth, and reduce job creation.”
The White House has also indicated that it would deny work authorization to asylum seekers for a year, barring refugees and other people fleeing violence and persecution from
Part of a Larger Offensive Against Legal Immigration
Our firm has often reported on the USCIS’ drop in productivity over the last few years, from months-long delays for adjudication to a steep drop in visa approvals. Since February, visa issuance has dropped by ninety percent. Issuing a suspension of work visas for the rest of the year will likely slow down economic growth, despite what the White House says. Critics say this is less about helping the economy and more about campaigning on a “tough on immigration” platform.
Regardless of the reason, American industry relies on international cooperation. Shutting out the most talented and qualified workers in the world won’t give those jobs to Americans—it’ll only make it harder for Americans to benefit from the work produced by collaboration with workers from other nations.