A number of employment visas, including the H-1B, which is one of the most sought-after among Indian IT professionals, is likely to be suspended US President Donald Trump in view of the massive unemployment in America due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The suspension, which has been proposed, could extend into the US government's new financial year beginning October 1, when many fresh visas are issued.
The Wall Street Journal reported quoting officials: "That could bar any new H-1B holder outside the country from coming to work until the suspension is lifted, though visa holders already in the country are unlikely to be affected."
Such a huge decision by the Donald Trump administration might have an adverse impact on thousands of Indian IT professionals as a large number of Indians on the H-1B visas have lost their jobs and are headed back home during the Covid-19 outbreak.
However, the final decision is yet to be made and the Trump admin has been considering various proposals, according to the White House.
The administration is currently evaluating a wide range of options, formulated by career experts, to protect American workers and job seekers especially disadvantaged and underserved citizens - but no decisions of any kind have been made," White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said in a statement.
In addition to the H-1B visas, the suspension could apply to the H-2B visa for short-term seasonal workers, the J-1 visa for short-term workers including camp counselors and au pairs and the L-1 visa for internal company transfers, the financial daily reported.
Meanwhile, the US Chambers of Commerce CEO Thomas Donohue wrote a letter to Trump yesterday, expressing concern over his reported move on temporary work visas.
Donohue's letter stated: "As the economy rebounds, American businesses will need assurances that they can meet all their workforce needs. To that end, it is crucial that they have access to talent both domestically and from around the world."
According to The Hill newspaper, Donohue said that American businesses need L-1 visa holders, who have a work visa valid for a relatively short amount of time, for necessary expertise.
He noted the importance of H-1B visa holders, who have a work visa valid for multiple years, for various industries, including technology, accounting and manufacturers, the newspaper said.
"Policies that would, for example, impose wide-ranging bans on the entry of nonimmigrant workers or impose burdensome new regulatory requirements on businesses that employ foreign nationals would undermine that access to talent and in the process, undercut our economy''s ability to grow and create jobs," Donohue added.
All about H-1B visas
The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows American companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise in specialised fields such as in IT, finance, accounting, architecture, engineering, mathematics, science, medicine, etc.
H-1B is the most coveted foreign work visas by giving priority to the best and brightest US-educated foreign youths, a move that could benefit Indian students already in the country.
US companies depend on it to hire tens of thousands of employees each year from countries like India and China.
(With agency inputs)