On Wednesday, President Biden lifted a ban on green cards outside the US and visas for temporary work in the Trump-era. Carolyn Kaster / AP Hide caption
Carolyn Kaster / AP
Carolyn Kaster / AP
President Biden on Wednesday lifted a freeze his predecessor had requested on many types of visas due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He said the order failed to advance US interests and hurt industry and individuals alike.
“It harms the United States by, among other things, preventing certain family members of United States citizens and rightful permanent residents from joining their families here,” Biden said in a proclamation repealing the measure.
Former President Donald Trump had frozen “green cards” for new immigrants and stopped Temporary work visas for skilled workers, managers and au pairs in the categories H-1B, H-4, H-2B, L-1 and J to protect jobs. He argued that the dramatic containment of legal immigration was critical to safeguarding the U.S. job market during the pandemic.
But on Wednesday, Biden said previous policies had prevented qualified and eligible non-US citizens from entering the country, “which in some cases resulted in a delay and possible loss of their chance … and their dreams in the United States to realize. ”
The reversal by the new government means hundreds of thousands of foreigners who expected to wait until the end of March for the opportunity to apply for the coveted visas can do so immediately.
American tech companies are using H-1B visas, which have long been considered controversial, to recruit highly skilled workers outside of national borders, including engineers, IT specialists and architects. Their justification is that companies claim there is a lack of US-based talent. The visas are valid for three years and can be extended for a second term of three years. Before shutting down, for example 65,000 the visas were issued every year.
Critics say they serve as loopholes for companies trying to undercut American salaries because companies can pay less to foreign workers.
The stop was first decided by Trump in June as an extension of 2017. “Buy Americans, Hire Americans“Executive Order and has been renewed twice considerable opposition of corporate groups. The US Chamber of Commerce and the National Associations of Manufacturers both filed lawsuits against the government alleging the policies were detrimental to the country’s economic interests.