A handful of popular foreign work visa programs are being suspended. On June 22, 2020, the White House administration issued an executive order suspending the issuance of some specific work visas.
The impacted programs include H-1B for skilled workers, H-2B for temporary non-agricultural workers, L visas for intracompany transfers and J visas for cultural and educational exchange programs. This freeze is expected to last at least until the end of 2020
Considering the impacts
Many U.S. companies rely on foreign work visas as a way to bring in specialized talent from around the globe. And these workers look to these visa programs to ensure they and their family retain a stable living situation.
H-1B visas, in particular, are quite popular in New York. About 40,000 workers came to the state in 2019 under an H-1B, and a quarter-million did so between 2010 and 2016. Bloomberg, McKinsey & Company, Morgan Stanley and Citibank were among the companies in the state to most frequently take advantage of the H-1B.
The freeze is likely to be felt the hardest by those in specific industries that rely on some of these visas, including those in the tech, health care and finance space.
Workers from India will also likely bear the brunt of the effects. Indian workers accounted for the highest share of H-1B, L-1 and L-2 visas in the U.S. in 2019.
Preparing for what lies ahead
Recent months have not always been easy for workers and corporations that utilize foreign work visas. Rules and regulations can change in a heartbeat, sending even the best-prepared parties scrambling to come up with Plan B.
For those in dire straits, there may be other options worth exploring. For the foreseeable future, many individuals and corporations will have to get creative to make the best of the situation.