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Donald Trump Outlines Plans to Widen Foreign Worker Bans Amid COVID-19

Donald Trump Outlines Plans to Widen Foreign Worker Bans Amid COVID-19

The President of the United States is reportedly plotting to extend and expand restrictions on foreign workers entering the country amid the Coronavirus pandemic.  

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Stringent travel and immigration measures have been rolled out worldwide, but the US has taken a particularly hard-line approach with Donald Trump pledging to “suspend immigration” entirely as the outbreak of coronavirus pursued.  

Originally, an executive order in April prohibited several categories across the US immigration spectrum from entering the country. Administration officials have since been tasked with a 30-day review of all visiting workers. 

The White House is also looking at axing visas for skilled workers in certain vocations and other seasonal workers, such as landscapers, housekeepers and construction workers

However, the Trump administration is now considering hammering down further. The first would see a reduction in the number of immigrants coming to the US for cultural exchange programs, such as people working in summer jobs, camps and resorts. 

The White House is also looking at axing visas for skilled workers in certain vocations and other seasonal workers, such as landscapers, housekeepers and construction workers. This would include H-1B visas and the Optional Practical Training Programme. As it currently stands, agricultural and healthcare workers will not be affected as the demand in the food supply chain and the healthcare sector continues to grow in the face of COVID-19. 

trump immigration ban
Trump has imposed a severe immigration ban across the US in light of the coronavirus pandemic. [Image: Getty Images/BBC.]
An estimated 1 million workers from overseas come to the US every year under these visas – 85,000 of which receive H-1B. H-1B Visa and OPT programs are streamlined for foreign talent in particular industries such as computer science, engineering, education and medicine. Yet as unemployment levels continue to soar as a consequence of the Coronavirus pandemic, the President wants to see a reduction in overall immigration in order to prioritize US citizens for work. 

An estimated 1 million workers from overseas come to the US every year under these visas – 85,000 of which receive H-1B

Businesses are growing in concern over what this may mean for their summer recruitment drives. However, the White House insists the measures are necessary in order to protect US workers with many Republican lawmakers insisting on the suspension of H-1B and OPT programs for at least one year. 

One letter to the White House written by Ted Cruz, Tom Cotton, Chuck Grassley and Josh Hawley said: “Given the extreme lack of available jobs for American job-seekers as portions of our economy begin to reopen, it defies common sense to admit additional foreign guest workers to compete for such limited employment.”

A Homeland Security spokesperson said: “We are reviewing all options to ensure that U.S. workers are prioritized for employment as we undergo the largest economic comeback in history,” 

If you are concerned about your US Visa or immigration status, contact the Immigration Advice Service. Our attorneys are well-versed in all areas of immigration legislation and how COVID-19 may be affecting your status in the country. 

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