US President Donald Trump will prolong a ban on US employment permits to year-end and broaden it to include H-1B visas used widely in the tech industry, the White House has said.
A senior administration official told journalists the move would free up 525,000 jobs, making a dent in the high unemployment rate caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
“President Trump is focused on getting Americans back to work as quickly as possible,” the official said, on condition of anonymity.
His executive order, signed Monday afternoon, will extend and widen the 60-day freeze Trump placed on new work permits for non-US citizens two months ago.
The administration official said 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.
It 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.