As of January 2021, the Administration has extended an order suspending the issuance of certain types of work visas for another three months, citing the ongoing effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
The extension means hundreds of thousands of foreigners looking to work in the United States will continue to have to wait until at least the end of March before having another chance to attain coveted visas to enter the country.
The halt was set to expire Thursday, and there was a clash within the White House about what to do about the expiring moratorium. The freeze was also aggressively opposed by many business groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and National Associations of Manufacturers, which filed lawsuits and argued it hurt U.S. economic interests.
The business community has pushed to lift the six-month moratorium, arguing it threatens America’s economic interests, while proponents for an extension argued that the ongoing needs created by the pandemic warranted an extension.
The freeze began in April, when the Administration signed an immigration proclamation targeting people outside of the US seeking to legally migrate to the US, with some exceptions. That order, which was set to lapse, was extended in June until the end of 2020 and expanded to include some guest worker visas. who “present a risk to the U.S. labor market following the coronavirus outbreak”.
Among those are holders of high-skilled H-1B visas, used in the tech industry, as well as executive L-1 visas and certain J-1 visas used by au pairs. The measure was aimed at applicants for new visas.
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