Visa sus­pen­sion move likely soon, hints Trump

Hindustan Times (Jalandhar) - - FRONT PAGE - Yash­want Raj let­ters@hin­dus­tan­times.com

WASH­ING­TON: Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump con­firmed on Satur­day re­ports of an im­pend­ing sus­pen­sion of non-im­mi­grant work visas such as H-1B and L-1, which im­pact In­dian com­pa­nies op­er­at­ing in the US and In­di­ans hop­ing to work in that coun­try the most, and said an an­nounce­ment was ex­pected “to­mor­row or the next day”.

“We’re go­ing to be an­nounc­ing some­thing to­mor­row or the next day on visas,” Trump said to a Fox News in­ter­viewer when asked about his plans to sus­pend th­ese visas, which have been

re­ported widely, in­clud­ing by Hin­dus­tan Times. “And I think it’s go­ing to make a lot of peo­ple happy. And it’s com­mon sense, to be hon­est with you.”

He re­fused to preview the de­tails of the or­der, but linked it to the state of the econ­omy, which is strug­gling with record un­em­ploy­ment num­bers caused by the lock­down in large parts of the US to fight off the coro­n­avirus pan­demic.

“We have plenty of peo­ple look­ing for jobs,” he said.

Asked if there will be ex­clu­sions, or ex­emp­tions, the Pres­i­dent

said there will be some to pro­tect the flow of work­ers for big busi­nesses. He did not spec­ify. Pres­i­dent Trump had sus­pended most cat­e­gories of im­mi­gra­tion in April, ex­empt­ing rel­a­tives of US cit­i­zens and health care pro­fes­sion­als, to “en­sure that un­em­ployed Amer­i­cans of all back­grounds will be first in line for jobs as our econ­omy re­opens”. Non-im­mi­grants visas were spared at the time, but they are due any day now.

The United States grants 85,000 H-1B short-term work visas to highly skilled for­eign pro­fes­sion­als ev­ery year. More than 70% go to In­di­ans hired ei­ther from among those en­rolled in the US for higher stud­ies or those brought from In­dia. They are re­cruited both by US com­pa­nies such as Google, Face­book and Mi­crosoft, and In­dian IT ser­vices ma­jors such as TCS, In­fosys and Wipro.

And L-1 visas are used for in­tra­com­pany trans­fers.

Th­ese visas, es­pe­cially H-1Bs, have been in the crosshairs of the

Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion for a long time, go­ing way be­yond the un­em­ploy­ment cri­sis brought on by the Covid-19 out­break.

AFP

US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump ar­rives at a cam­paign rally in Tulsa, Ok­la­homa, on Satur­day.

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