immigration debate

Donald Trump’s next executive order may clamp down on H-1B visa holders and their spouses

The Department of Homeland Security is likely to carry out checks on L1 visa holders as well.

United States President Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order that will target work visa programmes that are used extensively by Indians, especially Indian information technology companies, reported PTI. According to a draft of the order released by Vox.com, spouses of H1B visa holders could also be affected – they could lose their work permits. Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama had granted these spousal work permits.

The order is titled “Protecting American Jobs and Workers by Strengthening the Integrity of Foreign Worker Visa Programs”.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on Monday said, “I think with respect to H1Bs and other visa is part of a larger immigration reform effort that the President will continue to talk about through executive order and through working with Congress.” He added, “I think there’s an overall need to look at all of these [worker visa] programmes. You’ll see both through executive action and through comprehensive measures a way to address immigration as a whole and the visa programme.”

The new rules also crack down on optional practical training work visas, by which foreign students can stay in the US a few extra months after completing their degrees.

Once Trump’s order is signed, Homeland Security will also have inspections at all sites where L1 visa holders are employed. It will also review all regulations that now allow foreign nationals to work in the US, and will “determine which of those regulations violate the immigration laws or are not in the national interest”. PTI reported. The new executive order will also likely lead to the establishment of a committee to analyse the US’ immigration policies and their impact on the country, economy, work force, foreign policy and national security.

The US issues around 85,000 H1B visas each year, The Hindu reported. These visas were issued on lottery basis, but that could now change. A new selection method might be followed, by which only the “the best and the brightest” will be selected for the visas.

On Friday, Trump had signed an order banning Muslims from seven nations from entering the US for four months. Refugees from Syria are banned from entering the US indefinitely. The new immigration policies have caused massive global outrage. However, Trump has defended his move by saying that around 40 Muslim-majority nations were not affected by the executive order. He also blamed the media for propagating false news.

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