President Donald Trump has signed an executive order that will prevent any company from getting work visas to the United States for their foreign workers.
The executive order which is targeted at highly-skilled workers planning to move to the U.S. will affect close to 525,000 jobs.
According to the Trump administration officials, the new order would extend to the end of 2020 and include H-1B visas provided to 85,000 workers each year with special skills, many of them joining the US technology industry.
The visa ban will also cover most J visas, common for academics and researchers, and L visas used by companies to shift workers based overseas to their US offices.
The official also stressed the H-1B visa freeze was temporary while the program is restructured, shifting from an annual lottery that feeds coders and other specialists to Silicon Valley to a system the gives priority to those foreign workers with the most value.
Trump “is going to prioritize those workers who are offered the highest wages,” as an indicator that they can add more value to the US economy, the official said.
“It will eliminate competition with Americans… in these industries at the entry level, and will do more to get the best and the brightest.”
The move also freezes most H-2B visas – used each year for about 66,000 short-term, low-skilled jobs in landscaping, food and hospitality industries – and H-4 visas, which allow spouses of other visa holders to work.
As a result of the Novel Coronavirus pandemic outbreak, more than 30 million Americans have filed for unemployment. This is more than all the jobs lost in the 2007/2008 financial crisis that triggered a global recession.
The zero skilled visa policy will affect major tech giants such as Google, Facebook, Microsoft and other Internet technology companies who rely on a pool of foreign talents to boost their innovative and highly-skilled positions.