Trump signs a proclamation halting H-1B work visas and other temporary visas

Trump signs a proclamation halting H-1B work visas and other temporary visas
President Donald Trump and White House Senior Adviser Stephen Miller.Alex Wong/Getty Images
  • President Donald Trump signed a proclamation Monday halting a variety of immigration visas.
  • It temporarily suspends H-1B, H-2B, H-4, J-1, and L-1 visas, affecting the tech industry, students, and au pairs, among others.
  • Those visas will be on hold until the end of 2020.
  • On a call with reporters, administration officials said the move would prevent immigrants from taking 525,000 jobs as unemployment remains above 13%.

President Donald Trump extended a freeze on immigration visas through the end of 2020 in a proclamation he signed on Monday.

The proclamation extends the 60-day freeze on work visas put in place in April.

A wide swath of professions will be affected, including those in the tech industry and at universities, as well as au pairs.

H-1B, H-2B, H-4, J-1, and L-1 visas will be halted under the order.

On a call with reporters, administration officials said the measure would reserve 525,000 jobs for American citizens. The proclamation cited the high unemployment rate amid the coronavirus pandemic as one of the reasons for extending the order.


"The exceptions — there are none under H-1B or H-4. H-2B, I noted — the H-2B exception is those dealing in closest to agriculture or aquaculture, seafood, but not the kind of restaurant, hotel, club, etc., stuff you heard referenced earlier," a senior administration official said on a call. "That's about 10 to 15% of all H-2Bs are in either seafood or food processing. This is, you know, packaging up food to be distributed or participating in the distribution. There are no exemptions for any of the L visas."

Senior White House adviser Stephen Miller, who is widely credited as the driving force behind the Trump administration's efforts to curtail both legal and illegal immigration, had been pushing for the move out of a belief that high unemployment amid the coronavirus pandemic must be addressed by blocking out competition from immigrants, according to The Washington Post.

The initial freeze was strongly opposed by those in the tech industry, who said it would harm their efforts to recruit for positions that do not have a strong applicant pool among American citizens.

Seasonal work will also be constricted under the order, with the H-2B visa accounting for more than 80,000 accepted applicants per year since the mid-2010s, according to the State Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs.