Tech giants strongly oppose Trump administrations work visa ban

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Google CEO Sundar Pichai has expressed disappointment over the proclamation issued by US President Donald Trump that temporary suspends foreign work visas including H-1B.

President Donald Trump said Sunday that he will announce new restrictions on visas. The order would apply to those who are outside the United States on the date the proclamation takes effect.

"Under the extraordinary circumstances of the economic contraction resulting from the Covid-19 outbreak, certain nonimmigrant visa programs authorizing such employment pose an unusual threat to the employment of American workers", Trump said in his order.

The goal of the move is to protect 525,000 jobs as part of the White House response to job losses caused by the coronavirus pandemic, said a senior administration official, who spoke to reporters on the condition of anonymity. The U.S. State Department will review and approve these applications on a case-by-case basis.

India's apex industry body NASSCOM criticised President Trump's decision and labelled the visa suspension "misguided towards the U.S. economy".

The issuance of new green cards will also remain halted through the end of the year. The president has faced pressure to restrict work visas from groups that seek lower levels of immigration, as well as some Republican lawmakers.

The H-2 visas allow temporary work in agriculture, construction, forestry and many other industries.

H-1B visas cover temporary work authorizations for people with highly specialized knowledge, while H-4 visas are issued to immediate family members of H-1B visa holders.

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The Washington Department of Health reported 28,225 confirmed coronavirus cases in the state and 1,265 known deaths. The county reports that 1,620 cases, or 15 percent of the total countywide, have required hospitalization.

The Washington-based Migration Policy Institute estimates that 167,000 workers and their dependents would be blocked between July 1 and December 31, including 72,000 with J-1 visas and 29,000 with H-1B visas.

Trump is expected to also renew on Monday a rule temporarily blocking some foreigners from permanent residence in the U.S., the senior administration official added.

They will also have to submit higher filing fees of $20,000 and spouses will not get work permits.

"As the economy rebounds, American businesses will need assurances that they can meet all their workforce needs", the Chamber of Commerce wrote in a letter this month warning against new restrictions.

Trump "is going to prioritize those workers who are offered the highest wages", as an indicator that they can add more value to the United States economy, the official said.

Sarah Pierce, a policy analyst for the Migration Policy Institute, said there are legitimate concerns about some of the guest worker programs - including the ones for H-1B and J-1 visas. "All industries benefit from a visa system that allows US companies to attract the best and brightest no matter where they're from".

In a Fox News interview, an agency cited Trump as saying "We're going to be announcing something tomorrow or the next day on visas".

The critics, however, claim that the administration is using the cover of the pandemic to make its immigration laws stricter.

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