Trump suspends H-1B visas
June 22, 2020 - President Donald Trump has announced the suspension of H-1B visas which allow high-skilled foreign workers to live and work in the U.S. for up to six years. The U.S. awards just 85,000 H-1B visas annually.
The H-1B is a temporary visa category that allows employers to petition the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for highly educated foreign professionals to work in “speciality occupations” that require at least a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent.
Before an employer can file a petition with USCIS, the employer must take steps to ensure that hiring the foreign worker will not harm U.S. workers.
Of the 85,000 H-1B visas, around 70 per cent go to Indian workers, mostly in information technology (IT) services.
Among U.S. technology firms, Amazon, Microsoft and Google alone had some 20,000 H-1B petitions approved in the 2019 fiscal year, followed by Facebook and Apple at more than 7,000 visas.
A majority of the most valuable public U.S. technology companies have an immigrant as the founder or chief executive. Migrants have founded almost one in two, 48 per cent, of U.S. unicorns -- startups valued at more than $1 billion.
However, since President Trump’s “Buy American, Hire American” executive order in April 2017, the rate of denials for H-1B visas has surged from 13 per cent to 32 per cent, according to an analysis by the National Foundation for American Policy.
The sweeping ban on worker visas, combined with extending restrictions on the issuance of new green cards, will keep as many as 525,000 foreign workers out of the country.
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