A US judge has blocked US President Donald Trump’s order to restrict H-1B visas for highly-skilled foreign IT workers, saying that he exceeded his authority by imposing the immigration restrictions.
US District Judge Jeffrey S White in Oakland said in his order, “There must be some measure of constraint on presidential authority in the domestic sphere in order not to render the executive an entirely monarchical power in the immigration context.”
The US Chamber of Commerce, the National Assn. of Manufacturers and the National Retail Federation had moved the court against the Trump administration’s order on H-1B visa restrictions for foreign IT workers. They had argued that the order impeded the hiring of engineers, executives, IT experts, doctors, nurses and other crucial workers who help drive the American economy.
In a sweeping order in June this year, Trump had placed a ban on visas for a wide variety of jobs, including those for computer programmers and other skilled workers who entered the country under the H-1B visa, as well as those for seasonal workers in the hospitality industry, students on work-study summer programs and au pairs who arrive under other auspices.
As reported by the New York Times, the order had also restricted the ability of American companies with global operations and international companies with U.S. branches to transfer foreign executives and other employees to the United States for months or years-long stints.
According to a report by the LA Times, there were approximately 580,000 foreign workers with H-1B visas in specialized jobs in the US. The LA report also added that almost 160,000 L visas were issued in 2019 for executives, managers and employees with special experience and their dependents, and about 300,000 exchange visitors enter the US annually on J visas.
The judge said that his order blocking Trump’s decision applied only to the members of the plaintiff organisations including Amazon.com Inc., Microsoft Corp. and hundreds of thousands of US businesses of all sizes and from a cross-section of economic sectors.