Trump visa restrictions won’t affect students, could impact prospective workers

The suspension doesn’t apply to foreigners with valid nonimmigrant status already in the United States or Temple’s J-1 programs but will affect H-1B visa seekers currently abroad.

Temple University Office of International Affairs responds to President Donald Trump's suspension of various nonimmigrant work visas and its impact on international students. | ZOË DOBKIN / THE TEMPLE NEWS

President Donald Trump temporarily suspended many categories of nonimmigrant visas in a move the administration said will preserve job opportunities for Americans suffering from job losses caused by COVID-19.

Trump issued a proclamation on Monday suspending  H-1B, H-2B, H-4, J-1, J-2, L-1 and L-2 nonimmigrant visas and green cards issued abroad and barring foreign workers from entering the United States between now and the end of the year, The New York Times reported. 

Although Temple University sponsors J-1 visas for professors, research scholars, short-term scholars and specialists, Trump’s proclamation will not interfere with the university’s exchange program, only applying to intern, trainee, K-12 teacher and additional non-academic programs, according to the proclamation.

“[The Office of International Affairs] does not anticipate that the proclamation will affect Temple students,” wrote Morgan Zalot, a spokesperson for the university, in an email to The Temple News.

However, Temple international alumni seeking post-graduation jobs in the U.S. could be applying for H-1B visas, alongside foreigners seeking job opportunities with the university. H-1B is the nation’s largest visa program allowing for temporary employment of immigrant workers with specialized knowledge who hold bachelor’s degrees or higher, according to Pew Research Center.

H-1B visa applicants affected by the order are those who currently do not have their visa and are seeking it from outside of the U.S. The proclamation does not apply to people already in the U.S. who hold valid nonimmigrant status or people abroad who were already granted any of the mentioned visas. Exemptions include potential agricultural, healthcare and food industry workers, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Monday’s move comes exactly two months after Trump’s imposed 60-day suspension on issuing new green cards, an authorization to live and work in the U.S. Besides H-1B and J-1, other suspended nonimmigrant programs are H-2B program for nonagricultural temporary workers and L-1 program for managers transferring within their companies into the U.S., the Boston Globe reported. H-4, J-2 and L-2 visas are nonimmigrant visas issued to family members of the above-mentioned work-visa holders. 

Approximately 525,000 international workers could be affected by the suspension between now and the end of the year, the Times further reported. 

Visa issuance abroad will be suspended starting Wednesday while other restrictions, like work permits for asylum seekers, will take additional time due to the necessary formal process, the Globe further reported. The suspension is valid through December 31 and may continue if necessary, according to the proclamation.

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