Trump suspends H-1B visas allowing IT professionals to work in the U.S.

The administration of President Donald J. Trump temporarily suspended H-1B visas and some other visas. The point is that H-1B is the most popular visa among foreigners (including Ukrainians) who work in the U.S. in the high-tech industry. The restriction is imposed at least until the end of the year. The corresponding regulations are contained in the presidential proclamation.

The H-1B visa allows foreign professionals to work and reside legally in the United States. It is applied for three years and may be extended for the same period. Besides, an H-1B holder may stay in the U.S. even after this term has expired if he or she has applied for a green card and is awaiting a decision.

Such a decision is explained by the risk to the U.S. labor market, which foreign workers present due to the coronavirus outbreak.

“During this same period [between February and May of 2020 – ed.], more than 20 million United States workers lost their jobs in key industries where employers are currently requesting H-1B and L workers to fill positions,” the proclamation says.

Entrepreneurs often travel to the United States using L-1 visas. This decision will also have an impact on the country’s innovation industry. For example, SEOs of startups enter the country through this nonimmigrant visa program.

J-1 visas are also suspended until the end of the year (sometimes H-1B visas are used as temporary replacements of J-1 ones). Such visas are issued to research scholars, professors, and exchange visitors participating in programs that promote cultural exchange, especially to obtain medical or business training within the U.S.

The officials believe that ban on worker visas will provide Americans with an additional 525,000 job positions.

Many representatives of the U.S. high-tech industry criticize such a decision. Sundar Pichai, CEO of Alphabet, Google’s parent company, said that he was disappointed with the president’s decision:

Gustav Alstromer, Partner at Y Combinator, said that he came to the United States on an H-1B visa:

“The suspension of the H1B visa program is bad for the US, bad for innovation, and will shatter dreams and disrupt lives. As a former H1B visa holder, my heart goes out to all the families affected,” writes Andrew Ng, co-founder of Coursera.