Prioritize Most Valuable Workers
The official said the order was necessary to respond to soaring unemployment that resulted from the COVID-19 shutdown.
The official also stressed the H-1B visa freeze was temporary while the program is restructured, shifting from an annual lottery that feeds coders and other specialists to Silicon Valley to a system the gives priority to those foreign workers with the most value.
Trump “is going to prioritize those workers who are offered the highest wages,” as an indicator that they can add more value to the US economy, the official said.
“It will eliminate competition with Americans… in these industries at the entry level, and will do more to get the best and the brightest.”
The move also freezes most H-2B visas — used each year for about 66,000 short-term, low-skilled jobs in landscaping, food and hospitality industries — and H-4 visas, which allow spouses of other visa holders to work.
Exemptions will apply to seafood processing plants and to au pairs, foreigners offering families household help like childcare.