WASHINGTON—The Trump administration is weighing a proposal to suspend a slate of employment-based immigration visas, including the coveted H-1B high-skilled visa, according to administration officials familiar with the talks, among several possible measures amid the economic fallout of the pandemic.
The proposed suspension could extend into the government’s new fiscal year, beginning Oct. 1, when many new visas are typically issued, these officials said. That could bar any new H-1B holder outside the country from coming to work until the suspension is lifted, though visa holders already in the country are unlikely to be affected.
The suspension proposal is one of a series of legal immigration limits that President Trump is considering as part of an executive action he is set to unveil in the coming weeks. The administration has argued that the pandemic requires limits on immigration to prevent sick people from entering the country and to ensure that Americans get jobs first as the economy rebounds.
Administration officials said the president hasn’t yet signed off on the plan, adding that it could change as senior aides continue to discuss the matter.
“The administration is currently evaluating a wide range of options, formulated by career experts, to protect American workers and job seekers, especially disadvantaged and underserved citizens—but no decisions of any kind have been made,” White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said in a statement.
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