The State Department’s temporary suspension of visa processing has stopped the inflow of H-1B foreign visa workers into American white-collar jobs while the Chinese coronavirus crisis drives up United States jobless claims to more than ten million.
In a given year, more than 100,000 foreign workers are brought to the U.S. on the H-1B visa and are allowed to stay for up to six years. There are about 650,000 H-1B visa foreign workers in the U.S. at any given moment.
Americans are often laid off in the process and forced to train their foreign replacements, as highlighted by Breitbart News. More than 85,000 Americans annually potentially lose their jobs to foreign labor through the H-1B visa program.
On March 20, the State Department issued a memo announcing that U.S. embassies and consulates would cancel routine visa processing. The memo means thousands of H-1B visas that would have usually been issued to primarily Indian male nationals have been halted, at least temporarily.
“In response to significant worldwide challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of State is temporarily suspending routine visa services at all U.S. Embassies and Consulates,” the memo notes.
Instead, embassies and consulates are using their manpower to repatriate American citizens from around the world to protect them from coronavirus outbreaks. As of April 6, more than 45,000 Americans from 78 countries had been repatriated to the U.S.
The temporary suspension of H-1B visa processing has not stopped the program’s largest beneficiaries from lobbying to keep their foreign workers in the U.S. As Breitbart News reported, India-based NASSCOM is reportedly asking the Labor Department to allow their corporations to keep H-1B foreign visa workers in the U.S. during the coronavirus-induced economic shutdown.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.