American IT professionals want suspension of H-1B visa due to massive unemployment

indica News Bureau-

To protect the interests of the American citizens, a US body of American Technologists has urged President Donald Trump to suspend the H1B B visa program for IT professionals in the wake of coronavirus and the massive layoffs that will follow the pandemic.

The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. IT companies depend on this visa program to hire professionals from India and China in large numbers every year.

US Tech Workers,  a nonprofit organization which describes itself as representing the voices of American workers harmed by the H-1B visa program, in its letter to Trump also urged him to suspend the H-2B visa programs for the foreign guest workers too, reported Money Control.

“We have written a letter asking that the H-1B & H-2B visa program be suspended for this year due to the economic fallout from the coronavirus. Letters have been sent to the office of the President, to his Chief of Staff, & to all members of congress,” the organization said.

H-2B visas are mostly for foreign farm workers. Many farming and agricultural businesses hire people from countries like Latin America under this program.

“With the historical displacement of workers, compounded by the current crisis, it is very concerning that the Department of Homeland Security is working to accelerate the delivery of H-1B and H2-B workers to the United States. We ask that you stand up for the productive class of this country and protect the interest of American workers,” the letter said.

According to some reports, the Department of Labour would be looking at 50-70 million unemployed Americans by the end of April.

The letter further pointed out that unemployment claims ramped to three million, shattering the record high of 695,000 in October 1982.

“We urge you to pause the H-1B visa program that would bring in 85,000 workers this year and suspend the recently approved addition of 35,000 workers for the H-2B visa. Overall the importation of workers should be undertaken with great caution during this period of tremendous uncertainty,” the letter said.

“Battling both a pandemic and the resulting fallout to our economy from the coronavirus is no time to approve employment visas for more foreign workers,” wrote US Tech Workers in the letter to Trump.

Even as the peak of coronavirus in the US is two weeks away, millions of people in the country have lost their jobs. A record 3.3 million Americans have filed initial jobless claims for the week ending March 21. Experts fear that more such layoffs will take place in different sectors in US because of the current economic distress, that will deteriorate further in near future. According to an estimate, some 47 million people could be rendered unemployed.