Washington: Another instance of nationalism has appeared from USA when the President Donald Trump banned visa for foreign employees to USA. Earlier Trump has used the Covid-19 as an excuse to scare off refugees. This time, the pandemic for him is a provision to exclude skilled workers, seasonal labourers and other would-be employees simply because they’re not Americans. Democrats are also silent on this decision. One cannot see a protest now from their side as they had done during the refugee issue. Visa ban issue has all the usual political equations scrambled over.
The president has issued a proclamation barring the federal government from issuing at least five types of temporary visas for foreign workers, professors and their spouses through the end of the year. The US officials said that the decision was to preserve roughly half a million jobs for US citizens who were swept up in the tsunami of corona virus-related layoffs in recent months. Trump had cited similar reasons in April when he issued a more limited visa suspension.
‘America first’ approach:
Political observers called Trump’s policy as ‘America first’ approach. This approach, when combined with the actions towards immigrants increased his nationalist outfit in world politics. Many leftist labour organizations also supports Trump’s decision because, with 21 million US working-age adults unemployed in May, there are plenty of citizens who badly need jobs. These organizations accuse that worker visas, and particularly the H-1B program, have enabled some employers to replace higher-wage US workers with cheaper foreign labour. That’s particularly true as companies have switched from having in-house tech support teams to tech service contractors, many of which rely on foreign workers.
Real need in labour:
In science and tech fields, for example, research suggests that there’s a mismatch between the skills demanded in certain fields and those held by US workers, resulting in a surplus of workers in some areas and a shortage in others. Food and leisure industry employers too claimed that they, like farm owners, simply cannot find enough citizens willing to fill the lower-skill jobs they have to fill. It’s also worth noting that the worker visa programs require employers to use them only as a last resort to fill jobs that they could not fill with Americans.
Trump has a record set in denying the applications for H1-B visas, according to the statistics. Beyond that, Trump’s proclamation of visa ban “comes with broad exemptions, such as for many agricultural, health care, and food industry workers,” indicate a concession that, for some employers, the visas are indispensable. For example, it exempts “any alien seeking to enter the United States to provide temporary labour or services essential to the United States food supply chain.”
When we think, it occurs quite natural that job reservations should be done first to the Americans. In fact, this has started well in advance. But businesses and employment opportunities after the recession won’t be the same as the ones before the collapse. Recessions invariably displace workers whose skills fall out of demand. And one thing this country doesn’t seem to be very good at is retraining people to keep pace with those changes. So, it is a matter of time to see whether Trump’s decision actually helps USA or not.