Trump Extends Work Visa Ban to March, Citing Labor Market Woes

President Donald Trump extended a ban on new green cards and work visas until months after he leaves office, citing continued weakness in the U.S. labor market due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Trump on Thursday signed a proclamation that extends to March 31 immigration restrictions he first put into effect in April and renewed in June.

“The effects of COVID-19 on the United States labor market and on the health of American communities is a matter of ongoing national concern, and the considerations present” in the previous proclamations “have not been eliminated,” Trump said.

The extension of the restrictions, which include a freeze on new H-1B and H-4 visas used by technology workers, continues Trump’s aggressive campaign to limit immigration to the U.S. of various types during his term.

The extension to March means the curbs will be in place when President-elect Joe Biden takes office on Jan. 20.

Technology companies and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the country’s biggest business lobbying organization, have criticized the bans as damaging to the nation’s economy. The chamber and other trade groups have sued to block the restrictions.

Bloomberg LP, the parent of Bloomberg News, is among the companies that have expressed support for a court order blocking Trump’s policy.

The U.S. unemployment rate in November was 6.7%, down from 14.7% in April at the height of business shutdowns related to the pandemic, but more than double the 3.5% rate in February. The jobless rate for December will be released on Jan. 8.

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