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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

GS-II :
  • 26 April, 2020

  • 5 Min Read

IMMIGRATION BAN AND ITS IMPACT

Context:

United States President Donald Trump announced on Monday, on Twitter, that he would be using an executive order to suspend legal immigration into the U.S. for 60 days. The White House has indicated that the time limit could be extended depending on conditions on the ground.

Why has Mr. Trump taken such a step?

  • Economy has ground to a virtual halt in the face of the pandemic.
  • Proposals to restrict immigration served Mr. Trump’s campaign well during the 2016 presidential election, particularly when they were situated in the context of protecting jobs for U.S. workers. Mr. Trump is seeking re-election in the November 2020 election against the presumptive Democratic nominee, former U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden.

What does it mean for visa applicants?

  • The order is not expected to halt visa processing for many thousands of temporary employees, including a sizeable number of Indian nationals in the H-1B skilled worker category; agricultural workers classified under the H-2A visa; and seasonal workers, who fall into the H-2B category.

Exemptions are given to:

  1. Essential workers, including those in health care and who have a critical role to play in fighting the pandemic.
  2. Who seek to immigrate via their immediate relatives. This includes spouses and minor children of U.S. citizens applying for green cards, or permanent residency.
  3. Members of the armed forces, those who are immigrating for law enforcement reasons and are already in the pipeline, and those on the EB-5 programme, which requires individuals to invest at least $500,000 in U.S. real estate projects, will be considered.

Could there be any impact on skilled workers from India?

  • The U.S. State Department announced in March 2020 that it would be suspending all routine visa processing at its consulates and embassies abroad; this has not only dampened the pace of visa issuance but it has also slowed legal immigration considerably.
  • So far as skilled workers seeking the H-1B visa are concerned, similar conditions apply. U.S. visa issuance in all countries, not only in India, has ground to a halt.
  • This has left many H-1B visa-seekers in the lurch in India, and that could have an economically debilitating impact on the Indian IT and Information Technology Enabled Service (ITeS) sectors.

Source: TH


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