US suspends fast-tracking of visas for skilled workers
United States authorities are temporarily suspending the speedy, premium processing of a visa, which is often used by tech firms to recruit foreign skilled workers.
Although the move comes as Trump pledges to prioritise jobs for Americans, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) said the suspension is only meant to help the agency reduce overall processing time.
The H-1B visa is issued to tens of thousands of highly skilled foreign nationals each year, but as of April 3, applicants will no longer be able to use a costly shortcut to rush their visa processing.
On Friday, USCIS announced that the “premium processing” of H-1B visas — which reduced waiting time from several months to 15 days for the price of US$1,225 (RM5,390) — would be temporarily suspended for up to six months.
According to USCIS, the visas are issued for specialised occupations like scientists, engineers and computer programmers.
The US offers 85,000 H-1B visas every year, most being snapped up by Indian outsourcers, whose employees filled a skill gap in engineering.
Trump is also expected to sign a revised travel ban today, just over a month after his original decree sowed controversy across the US and chaos at airports.
The president will sign the new executive order at the Department of Homeland Security, according to Politico, which cited senior government officials.