In the last historic US election, Joe Biden defeated Donald trump to become the 46th president of the democratic nation. The shift of power certainly will be reflected in the immigration policies of the United States. This will rightly influence the reopening of Visa programs that were shut down on account of a pandemic or otherwise.
Donald Trump is well known for his anti-immigration attitude. During his term, the number of new immigrants had fallen the most. His idea of “The Wall” to protect against illegal immigration through the southern border was undoubtedly absurd. The travel ban from Muslim countries and slashing numbers on green cards and work visas were some of the other additional impacts of Covid 19.
Could Biden be removing the freeze on work visas?
We know changes are coming. Joe Biden has already signed to remove travel bans from selected nations. But what about legal workforce immigration? The freeze on the issuance of H2B and J1 visas cause panic in the international community. The USA hosts the best brains from over the globe. This prolonged freeze is terrible for both sides.
It was recently that Joe Biden also lifted ban on greed card allotment to foreign nationals living in the USA with valid status. This was a great deal of relief for applicants whose green cards were in processing. Hence we can predict that the summer program will reopen with a lift of ban on temporary work visas.
Rep. Bill Keating told the gazette that the freeze on work visas would expire by end of the month. This will also help in the job creation problem, businesses will thrive, and the economy will, in general, start to revive. The ban on skilled workforce visas can be detrimental to every section of the economy.
Who can apply through the H2B and J1 summer workforce visas?
The H2B and J1 visas form an integral part of the skilled labour force in the United States. Through these programs, the country invites students and professionals to work and contribute to American society. Both of these are considered to be on a short-term basis. Typically seasonal or annual workers apply for these visas, which come to the USA for relatively lesser time.
A person with a bachelor’s degree in area of employment is eligible for an H2B visa. The jobs are seasonal in nature as well as skilled or semi-skilled. Generally the USA experiences a shortage of labor in particular sectors which employ seasonal or short-term foreign labor. Applicants on H2B visas much provide evidence that they will not settle in the USA.
Now let’s talk about the J1 visa program. This is another pathway for exchange visitors to work and study in the USA. It is to make easy cultural, educational, and scientific integration between institutions of the world. This visa is generally for academically qualified professionals in fields of research and development. Typically visiting students, faculty, interns usually make use of this visa program.
Reports shown by the US department of labor show that Martha’s Vineyard, a small island town in Massachusetts, employs over 1000 foreign workers. The restaurants, hotels, and other outlets mainly hire foreign labor or part-time international students. We can certainly imagine the impact of foreign labor on the whole US market.
Pandemic and immigration in the United States
The inability to employ foreign labor or skilled professionals in jobs through these visa programs meant businesses were left understaffed. Small and large businesses are trying to cope with a pandemic’s hardships, all the while with low quality and quantity workers. But an ongoing pandemic also means that opening up borders would cause a health crisis.
Mr. Keating was quick to point out the importance of the summer workforce or seasonal labor. Businesses are running on less than efficient labor due to a shortage of local summer workforce this year. Indeed, the impact is felt by the whole local community. Seasonal hospitality businesses are hard hit, like the island of the vineyard. Hopefully, the coming summer will bring in better workers after the ban on foreign labor is lifted.
The broader aim of the new government is to encourage immigration. Hence the businesses have nothing to fear, adds Keating. Joe Biden is all for equal opportunity. He will do what to necessary to ensure the United States has the best quality of foreign workers. Only the pandemic makes the situation tricky. But as vaccination drives pick up, we can surely hope for improvement.
A new future for visa policies under new president Biden
The path on which Joe Biden has set out shows that the ban of visas and green cards will expire sooner than later. He is trying to open up visas for skilled workers in specific areas of an urgent need to the American economy. How this plays out in the process of economic recovery will unravel in the future.
Currently, the USA issues 60,000 H2B temporary work visas every year. However, the demand grows year to year. President Trump made immigration into the United States increasingly difficult. He would not allow anything beyond his relatively low numbers. It is hoped that the new pro-immigration government will increase the cap of the upper limit. This will be appreciated by businesses employing them also the seasonal workers coming into the USA.
With a new government, hopefully, immigration policies will be more predictable and lenient. Donald Trump had changed the face of US immigration under his term. However, Biden is fast overturning all his policies to again bring the USA back as a forerunner in the international community.
However, we must not forget that the freeze is yet not lifted. Hence there will be some more delay in bringing back the summer workforce, which is crucial for local American businesses. Businesses are somewhat relieved as they have been assured of a hopeful future. It is also the same for seasonal workers looking to come to the USA in search of a good opportunity.