The restriction, which is set to take effect on June 24, 2020, will prevent hundreds of thousands of new immigrants who were expected to rely on the visas to work in industries ranging from tech and consulting, to people applying for H1-B visas.
The executive order is set to last until 31st December 2020, when Donald Trump might have been elected out of office or won a second tenure.
The bill was signed on Monday at a public press conference and was welcomed with criticism and indifference by the public.
In a statement on Monday, President Trump said the move is intended to protect American jobs because of lockdowns designed to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We have a moral duty to create an immigration system that protects the lives and jobs of our citizens,” he said.
Trump said that between February and April of 2020, more than 20 million United States workers lost their jobs in key industries where employers are currently requesting H-1B and L workers to fill positions.
“Also, the May unemployment rate for young Americans, who compete with certain J nonimmigrant visa applicants, has been particularly high — 29.9 percent for 16 19 year olds, and 23.2 percent for the 20-24 year old group.
“The entry of additional workers through the H-1B, H-2B, J, and L nonimmigrant visa programs, therefore, presents a significant threat to employment opportunities for Americans affected by the extraordinary economic disruptions caused by the COVID-19 outbreak,” President Trump said in the order.
The new restrictions won’t apply to visa-holders already in the U.S, or those outside the country who have already been issued valid visas.
This is coming five months after President Trump imposed a new travel ban restricting Nigerians and nationals of five other countries from moving to the United States of America to live permanently.