Trump Signs Order Freezing Visas for Foreign Workers Through the End of the Year

Originally published by Julia Ainsley on June 22, 2020 for

President Donald Trump signed an executive order Monday that freezes new visas for foreign workers through the end of the year, citing the need to preserve jobs amid the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

H-1B visas for tech workers, H-2B visas for low-skill jobs, H-4 visas for spouses of certain visa holders and J visas for those participating in work and student exchanges, as well as L visas for intracompany transfers, will all be suspended through Dec. 31 [2020]


Healthcare workers and researchers combating COVID-19, university professors and people working in food processing, such as agriculture or seafood industries, are exempt from the suspensions.

A senior administration official told reporters Monday that au pairs are also excluded, but a text of the order released later said au pairs are subject to the ban as well as interns, trainees, teachers, camp counselors or anyone participating in a summer work travel program. Hospitality workers applying for permission to come to the United States under the H-2B visa, a program Trump's hotels have taken advantage of, will be denied.

Senior administration officials said Trump has also asked the Departments of Homeland Security, State and Labor to work on regulations that will have a permanent impact, such as ending work permits for many asylum seekers and ending the lottery system for H-1B visas.

The new structure for H-1Bs will award visas to foreign workers whose companies will pay them the top salaries of the applicant pool, the officials said.

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