Trump targets foreign workers with new visa freeze: Who is affected

Updated on Jun 23, 2020 10:22 AM IST

US president Donald Trump signed an executive order on Monday where he suspended various immigration programmes, including the H-1B, till the end of this year.

A man has his fingerprints electronically taken while taking part in a visa application demonstration during a media tour at the consular section of the Embassy of the United States in Lima.(Representative Photo/Reuters)
A man has his fingerprints electronically taken while taking part in a visa application demonstration during a media tour at the consular section of the Embassy of the United States in Lima.(Representative Photo/Reuters)
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | Byhindustantimes.com | Edited by: Amit Chaturvedi

US President Donald Trump on Monday signed an executive order suspending the entry of certain foreign workers by extending the pause on some Green Cards. The new order also covers H-1B, the most sought-after visa programme by Indians to gain entry in the United States as skilled immigrants.

The move came as Republican Trump launches his re-election bid for presidential polls scheduled in November. Her has made immigration as his poll pitch.

The White House said that this pause will benefit workers in America where job losses due to the coronavirus pandemic are at record high. The government data says nearly 50 million Americans have lost jobs due to Covid-19, and this new order will free up just 5.25 lakh jobs.

Apart from the H-1B visa holders, Trump’s new order will also affect other categories of workers. These are:

H2-B: This visa programme is for seasonal non-agricultural labour. The United States issues 66,000 H2-B visas per year. The US media reports that this category is Trump’s favourite and visas under this programme are valid for up to three years. Food processing, hotel work and landscaping industries make use of the H2-B visa programme to employ workers for companies in these sectors. In 2019, the US issued 97,623 H-2B visas for both new applicants and renewals.

H-4: This programme is for the spouses of H1-B and H2-B visa holders. The H-4 visas are valid for the duration of the H1-B visa. THe US government issued 1,25,999 H-4 visas last year. Out of these, nearly 1,06,162 were for Indian citizens, followed by 5,701 for Chinese citizens.

J-1: These are meant for people who want to visit the United States for cultural and educational exchange. They are valid for up to seven years, depending on programme type, and there is no annual cap. In 2019, the US government issued 3,53,279 J-1 visas for both new applicants and renewals.

J-2: Like H2-B, this visa is for the spouses and dependents of J-1 holders. It is valid for the duration of the J-1 visa. Over 38,000 J-2 visas were issued by the Trump administration in 2019, according to government data.

L-1: These are the visas are for high-level and specialised company employees. They are generally valid for up to seven years and there is no annual cap. In 2019, the US government issued 76,988 L-1 visas. Out of these, 18,354 were taken by Indian citizens.

L-2: The L-2 visas are given to the dependents of L-1 holders. They are valid for the duration of the associated L-1 visa. The Indians got 23,169 L-2 visas out of the totl 80,720 issued by the US government last year.

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