Trump comes for foreign workers with new visa freeze

US President Donald Trump has suspended visas for foreign workers until the end of 2020.

Workers to be affected in the new visa regime include high-skilled tech workers, non-agricultural seasonal helpers, au pairs and top executives.

The White House said the move will create jobs for Americans hurting economically due to the pandemic, though critics say the administration is exploiting the coronavirus pandemic to tighten up immigration laws.

In a briefing for reporters, the administration said the freeze, in place through the end of the year, would impact about 525,000 people.

That includes an estimated 170,000 people blocked by the decision to extend a ban on some new green cards – which grants permanent residence to foreigners. The White House first announced it was halting those visas in April, an order that had been set to expire on Monday.

Existing visa holders are not expected to be affected under the new restrictions announced on Monday.

The new order also applies to H-1B visas, many of which are granted to Indian tech workers.

It will suspend most H-2B visas for seasonal workers, including those in the hospitality industry, except those in agriculture, the food processing industry and healthcare professionals.

Furthermore, the order will restrict J-1 short-term exchange visas, a category that includes university students and foreign au pairs who provide childcare. Professors and scholars are not included in the order. There will be a provision to request exemptions.

L visas for managers and other key employees of multinational corporations will also be suspended.

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