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US industry, tech cos slam Trump move to curtail H-1B, immigration, say America will be the loser

The U.S. is temporarily suspending an array of foreign visas, and workers from India and the tech industry may disproportionately feel the repercussions.

On Monday, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to temporarily halt visas for foreign workers through the end of the year. Trump’s order will specifically target H-1B and H-4 visas, which are primarily used by workers in the tech industry and their families. The order also halts the issuance of L visas, used for intracompany transfers, and J visas for seasonal work like camp counseling and study-abroad programs. Trump also extended a ban on applications for green cards, which provide permanent residency to non-U.S. citizens, to the end of 2020.

In a statement, Trump said that the ban was put in place because the U.S. has a “moral duty to create an immigration system that protects the lives and jobs of our citizens.” The administration says that the new order won’t extend to current visa holders or those who have already been issued valid visas.

The coronavirus pandemic had already slowed the issuing of H-1B visas to a trickle this year, since the U.S. State Department suspended all routine immigrant and nonimmigrant visa appointments globally since March. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued just 143 visas this May, compared to more than 13,500 in May 2019. News of the latest clampdown immediately drew rebukes from U.S. tech and business communities.

Industry leaders and executives of US giants from Amazon and Apple to Tesla and Twitter slammed President Trump’s executive order on the suspension of green card processing and freezing work visas for foreign workers, warning on Tuesday that the move will set back American innovation and competitiveness.


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