President Donald Trump will sign an executive order extending a freeze on green cards and barring most categories of foreign workers through the end of the year, the White House announced.
High-skilled tech workers, non-agricultural seasonal helpers, au pairs and top executives will be affected.
The White House said the move will create jobs for Americans hurting economically due to the pandemic. In a briefing for reporters, the administration said the freeze, in place through the end of the year, would impact about 525,000 people.
The executive order applies to H-1B visas, which allow U.S. employers to temporarily hire non-immigrant workers in specialty occupations; H-4 visas for spouses of H-1B workers; L visas for temporary workers and most J and H-2B visas. J visas are for work-and-study-based exchange visitor programs and their spouses and dependents; and H-2B visas for temporary non-agricultural workers.
“When people come in with a green card, they have open-market work opportunities,” the senior administration official said, explaining the difference between the first and second orders. “They can go to any job anywhere, whereas, say, H-2Bs and Js and H-1Bs, these are market-restricted. They have particular types of jobs they can work in.”