The Trump administration on Monday (local time) suspended the temporary work visas, including H-1B, for foreigners till the end of the year.
It marked the latest effort to bar the entry of immigrants to the country.
The new policy is “extending and expanding” on President Donald Trump’s April pause on issuing new green cards, which will continue beyond the initial 60-day period until the end of the year, according to a senior administration official.
“H-1B action is temporary but permanent action being taken on reforming the US visa system to one that is more “merit-based,” a senior administration official told reporters at a briefing.
Trump is also expected to sign an executive order on Tuesday directing new restrictions on most H-1B, H-4, H-2B, J and L visas, with some exceptions, lasting through December 31 – “frankly, because of the expanding unemployment,” the official told reporters.
The officials said that any abuses with H-1B visas will be investigated by the US Labor Department (USDOL).
“The president has instructed us to get rid of the lottery” for such visas, the official added.
The US government said that the new visa restrictions through the end of the year will affect nearly 525,000 American jobs.
“We’re hopeful that this is going to see broad, bipartisan support,” the official said.
The new restrictions, however, have been exempted for medical workers, especially those involved in COVID-19 care or research.
Pegged as the COVID -19 or economic response, it is the administration’s concerted effort to roll back the visas available to people overseas as a result of high unemployment in the US resulting from the coronavirus pandemic, the official noted.