The move by the Donald Trump administration in the US to cut the H-1B visas widely used by foreign technology workers survived an initial legal challenge.
US President Donald Trump’s June 22 proclamation classifying foreign workers as a risk to the US labor market in the face of the coronavirus pandemic sparked a backlash from workers and business groups. A number of the country’s largest tech companies have warned that politics “will cause irreparable damage to the country’s businesses and the economy”.
However, in a ruling on Wednesday, US District Judge Amit Mehta in Washington declined to prevent the government from imposing the visa restrictions while the legal challenge falls on them.
The case was brought by a group of 169 Indian nationals who recently returned to India after a work visa in the US and are now trying to return. They argued that the proclamation was “arbitrary and capricious” and urged the government to process their visa applications.
The plaintiffs’ lawyers did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But they said in a lawsuit that they will appeal.
The President’s visa application will freeze new H-1B and H-4 visas, widely used by technicians and their families, through the end of the year, as well as L visas for intra-corporate transfers and most J visas for work and study abroad programs .
Wednesday’s ruling marked the second time this month that Mr. Mehta has denied a motion to suspend the proclamation. Just as in a September 4 ruling in a related case involving a group of visa applicants, Mr Mehta found that Indian workers fell below the high legal threshold for an order blocking the decree during the litigation .
In both cases, the judge concluded that the plaintiffs would likely fail to show that Trump had exceeded his authority with the proclamation.
Another federal judge in Oakland, California is considering another motion to freeze the decree from corporate groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News, is among the companies that have expressed support for a court order blocking Trump’s policies.