Fox News reported on Monday that President Donald Trump issued an executive order suspending the issuance of most foreign work visas through at least the end of the year.
Among those impacted by the order will be those seeking H-1B tech worker visas, H-2B seasonal laborer visas, certain J work and education exchange visitor visas, along with L executive transfer visas, USA Today noted.
The new prohibition will only apply to those seeking new visas, with current visa holders left unaffected.
Fox News further reported that exemptions were made for health care professionals who are needed to fight the coronavirus pandemic as well as individuals whose admission is “deemed to be in the national interest.” Those falling under the H-2A agricultural guest worker program will also not experience any disruptions.
“There are an unprecedented number of Americans who are out of work, but we are also expecting to see an unprecedented growth in our economy,” Fox News quoted an unnamed administration official as saying.
“In order to ensure that we are hiring Americans first, we are putting a pause on certain non-immigrant visas into the United States, again for the purpose of ensuring that Americans can get jobs here in the U.S.,” the official added.
The decision comes on the heels on an earlier order that the president issued in April restricting the number of new green cards issued.
“In order to protect our great American workers, I’ve just signed an executive order temporarily suspending immigration into the United States,” Trump told reporters during a White House briefing at the time of the initial action.
“This will ensure that unemployed Americans of all backgrounds will be first in line for jobs as our economy reopens,” the president went on to add.
According to Fox News, this latest immigration move was blasted by powerful voices in corporate America ranging from major tech giants to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
“This proclamation undermines America’s greatest economic asset: its diversity. People from all over the world come here to join our labor force, pay taxes, and contribute to our global competitiveness on the world stage,” Twitter complained via its corporate “Public Policy” account.
Rep. Lance Gooden (R-TX) was among those who welcomed the decision, however, and he was quoted by Fox News as saying, “President Trump’s decision to suspend new guest worker visas is a strong show of support for American workers.”