The US will reportedly put a temporary ban on the issuance of some work-based visas like the H-1B, which is popular among highly-skilled Indian IT professionals, as well as visas for students and work authorisation that accompanies them, due to the high level of unemployment caused by the coronavirus COVID-19 spread.
The H-1B, which is a non-immigrant visa, allows companies in the US to hire foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. As many as 500,000 migrant workers are employed in the US on an H-1B visa status.
"The president's immigration advisers are drawing up plans for an upcoming executive order, likely this month, that would ban the issuance of some new temporary, work-based visas," The Wall Street Journal reported Friday.
"The order is expected to focus on visa categories including H-1B, designed for highly skilled workers, and H-2B, for seasonal migrant workers, as well as student visas and the work authorization that accompanies them," it said.
However, administration officials have not reached a collective decison yet, it could range from suspensions of entire visa categories to the creation of incentives to hire Americans in industries hardest-hit by layoffs, the WSJ further reported.
The report by The Wall Street Journal comes a day after some Republican Senators wrote a letter to Trump, urging him to suspend all new guest worker visas for 60 days and some of its categories, including the H-1B visa, for at least the next year or until unemployment figures return to normal levels in the country.
More than 33 million Americans have lost their jobs in the past two months due to the COVID-19 pandemic that has brought the US economy to a standstill. The White House officials predict that the country's economy is likely to grow at negative 15 to 20 per cent in the second quarter.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the latest monthly jobs report released on Friday (May 8) put the unemployment rate in the US for the month of April at 14.7 per cent which was the highest rate and the largest over-the-month increase in Amercian history.
(With inputs from agencies)