President Donald Trump has extended a temporary ban on a number of categories of immigration and work visas, thereby ensuring that his broad restrictions on legal immigration will remain in effect when President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated.
In a decree 20 days before the inauguration, Trump ordered a three-month extension of visa restrictions, which were introduced in April and expanded in June.
At first, the ban extended to some categories of potential immigrants, and then it affected several temporary employment programs.
Trump said the restrictions are necessary to prevent competition for jobs during the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
“The impact of COVID-19 on the US labor market and public health remains worrying,” Trump wrote in a statement Thursday, referring to the unemployment rate, pandemic-related restrictions on businesses and rising cases.
Trump’s order maintains a temporary ban on the visa lottery.
Certain temporary visas to work in the United States have also been suspended, including the H-1B program, which is popular in the tech sector, and the H-2B visas for non-agricultural seasonal workers.
J-1 visas for governesses and other short-term workers, visas for spouses of H-1B and H-2B holders, and corporate L visas for transferring employees to the United States are temporarily not issued.