The restrictions on US immigrant visas including H1B visas, work visas, and green cards have been extended till the 31st of March 2021. This was announced by the US administration led by President Donald Trump. The restrictions were set to expire on the 31st of December 2021.
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When And Why Were The US Immigrant Visas And Work Visa Restrictions Imposed?
The ban on US immigrant visas was issued initially during April 2020 and June 2020 by the Trump administration. This was to expire on the 31st of December 2020.
The restrictions were imposed with the view to protect the American workers amid the COVID 19 pandemic and related adverse effects on the US economy.
Justification On Why The USA Visa Restrictions Have Been Extended
According to the outgoing US administration, the US economy is yet to recover from the effects of the current pandemic. Unless these measures are taken it would be highly impossible to protect job opportunities for the Americans.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the number of COVID 19 cases reported all over the world daily is higher than the numbers reported during June 2020.
Even though medications and vaccines are now available their positive outcomes on the health of the community and markets are yet to be realized. Hence, the Trump-led US government thinks it is important to extend the visa restrictions for an additional three months at least.
The Trump government had imposed a ban on certain immigrant employees from entering the United States. This was strongly opposed by a wide range of businesses and organizations in the US.
However, the administration has extended the visa restrictions despite these oppositions.
What Is H-1B Visa?
This is a non-immigrant visa. With the H-1B Visa American companies can employ workers from other nations in specialty occupations. These are jobs that require both technical and theoretical skills and expertise.
Most of the IT companies depend on this visa to hire several thousands of workers mostly from China and India.
The Impact Of US Immigrant Visas And Work Visa Restrictions
The US immigrant visa restrictions imposed by the Trump administration mainly affects the international workers who’ve been issued H-1B visa in April 2020 which was supposed to come in to effect from the 1st of October 2020.
- Different categories of work visas were restricted by the Trump-led US government in 2020
- This was done by two proclamations issued on the 22nd of April and 22nd of June 2020
- A huge number of Information Technology (IT) professionals mostly from India and China will continue to be affected
- They will have to wait until the end of March to approach the US Diplomatic Mission/ Consulate
- They can get a Visa stamp only after that
- A large number of H-1B visa holders who have to renew their visas will be affected as well.
- Several companies in America and India who were issued H-1B visas by the US government beginning from October 2020 will also continue to face the impact of this ruling.
- Trump administration has put forth a rule for new migrants
- They are required to have their insurance for health
- This decision was backed by a federal appeals court in the US
The ban on these visas has been criticized severely by several IT companies in the US and India. However, there hasn’t been a significant effect on businesses and organizations as the employees continue to work remotely.
National Interest Exemption
The US Department of state-issued ‘National Interest Exemptions’ on the proclamations by the US President.
- This was issued in August 2020
- This was for the workers under the H-1B Visa and L-1 Visa providing infrastructure services
- Exceptions were also granted to the work visa holders returning to the US
- However, the must continue with the same employer, job position, and classification of visa
Can The President-Elect Joe Biden Reverse These Decisions?
The new President-elect for the United States, Mr. Joe Biden, will take charge on the 20th of January 2021. Mr. Biden has severely criticized the extension of Visa restrictions by the Trump-led US government. He has vowed to reverse Trump’s immigration policies.
The visa restrictions have been issued by Mr. Donald Trump as proclamations by the President. This means it can be undone. However, we’ll have to wait and see if it will be done by the Biden led administration once he assumes power.
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