On Tuesday, the United States President Donald Trump suspended the entry of foreign workers and thereby pushing the agenda of America First. This is looked at as an effective move to boost the economy post coronavirus pandemic.
Donald Trump suspended new H1-B visas until the year-end in order to free up jobs for Americans. This is likely to affect many. The issuance of new visas had declined already due to the COVID-19 pandemic and with this, it is expected to further go down.
Every year the United States grants 85,000 H-1B visas to high-skilled workers =, especially in the technology industry. The visa is valid for up to 6 years. The other visa categories which are likely to be affected include H-2B which are dedicated for seasonal non-agricultural labor, H-4 visas which are for the spouses and children of H-1B and H-2B visa holders, J-1 visa category that is for cultural and educational exchange, J-2 visas for the dependents and spouses of J-1 holders and L-1 and L-2 categories which are for high-level specialized employees and their dependents.
As per a report in the Economic Times, the move is likely to affect companies that employ Indian-based US-based techies who are under an H-1B visa. These visas are used by many global companies including Google and Apple including Indian companies like TCS, Infosys, and Wipro. The report also mentions that the already visa holders are unlikely to be affected by the move.
According to the USCIS, Indians are the biggest beneficiaries of the H1-B visas and amount to two-thirds of the 85,000 visas issued every year. Most of the United States-based companies and firms have also been key beneficiaries of the H1-B visa. However, Indian companies in the United States have been working with the local talent and thereby reducing the dependency on H1-B visas.
The National Association Software and Services Cos (Nasscom) is reportedly seeking an exemption of the move for technology workers and termed them as essential workers.
The unemployment rate in the United States has drastically raised after the novel coronavirus pandemic. It is at an all-time high. The move is likely to benefit US-based talent.
Amazon and Google Criticise
The move has attracted a share of criticism from big tech companies including Amazon and Google. While Twitter and Amazon called the move short-sighted, Google Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai expressed his disappointment on Twitter. He wrote,
“Immigration has contributed immensely to America’s economic success, making it a global leader in tech, and also Google the company it is today. Disappointed by today’s proclamation – we’ll continue to stand with immigrants and work to expand opportunity for all.”