The Trump administration may soon propose another set of immigration restrictions, this time on H-1B visas for foreign-born scientists and engineers. Some observers view these public displays of limiting immigration as an effort to deflect criticism of the administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Before enacting new measures, analysts recommend the administration take into account the restrictions on H-1Bs already in current law, including the low annual limit for new H-1B petitions, and the high denial rates imposed by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The latest data show H-1B denial rates are at record levels.
On April 22, 2020, the Trump administration issued a presidential proclamation that suspended the entry of most new immigrants for at least 60 days and ordered a 30-day review to recommend additional measures on temporary visas. Following the review, observers expect new restrictions on H-1B visa holders, F-1 students and others. A new restriction could take the form of suspending the entry of anyone on an H-1B visa coming from outside the country and/or imposing new conditions on their entry that would be difficult to satisfy.