President Donald Trump has issued an order that suspends new work visas, including H-1B visas, for the rest of the year, according to the New York Times.
In combination with recent restrictions on green cards, officials say about 525,000 foreign workers could be kept out of the US, it adds. Vox reports that senior administration officials say the move is needed due to the high levels of pandemic-related unemployment US adults are facing.
H-1B visas are often issued to foreign faculty members hired at US universities as well as to tech workers, Nature News notes. It says the order, which takes effect Wednesday, will not apply to individuals already in the US and those with a J-1 visa. Additionally, exceptions may be made for individuals who, for instance, are studying COVID-19, it adds.
Still, the Times notes that many business leaders oppose the measure and argue that it prevents them from recruiting needed workers.
"We find it extremely concerning, particularly as medical residents are brought in on H-1B visas, and faculty who are necessary to educate the US workforce," Lizbet Boroughs, associate vice president for federal relations at the Association of American Universities, adds at Nature News. "The bottom line is that suspending processing for H-1B visas is going to have an impact on American research and American innovation and America's ability to train and teach its scientific workforce pipeline."