After US President Donald Trump signed an executive order to temporarily halt immigration into the country, speculations regarding its impact are rife. While Trump said that the order will ensure that unemployed Americans from all backgrounds will be first in line for jobs when the economy reopens, the order comes with an asterisk.
The executive order will impact the immigrants seeking permanent residency as a curb has been implemented on the issuance of new green card. However, it will not affect those who already have valid visas or travel documents and also exempts those individuals who are seeking to permanently enter the US as a medical professional or researcher.
The other exemptions are made for members of the armed forces, people seeking asylum or refugee status, and children being adopted by American parents. While Trump said that the scope of the order could be expanded, people with employment-based temporary visas like H-1B or L1 have been exempted which comes as a sigh of relief for thousands of Indians.
For Indians, H-1B for IT professionals, B-1 and B-2 visas for business or travel purposes, and F-1 for students are some prominent non-immigrant visa. H1-B visa allows US employers to temporarily employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise.
“While some employment-based visas contain a labor certification requirement, because visa issuance happens substantially after the certification is completed, the labor certification process cannot adequately capture the status of the labor market today," the order said.
Earlier, the United States had said that it has taken steps to help address immigration-related challenges as the direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic. US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) said that the administration might provide an extension to non-immigrant visa holders on a case-by-case basis. A USCIS spokesperson informed that an individual needs to apply for visa extension and explain their circumstances under which they require an extension.
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