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Donald Trump’s restrictions on H-1B visas survive an early court fight

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NEW DELHI: The Trump administration’s decision to reduce the widely used H-1B visas by foreign tech workers in the US survived an initial court challenge.
President Donald Trump’s June 22 proclamation declaring foreign workers a risk to the US job market amid the coronavirus pandemic sparked a pushback from workers and business groups. A number of the nation’s largest technology companies have warned that the policy will cause “irreparable harm to the nation’s businesses and economy.”
But in a ruling on Wednesday, US District Judge Amit Mehta in Washington refused to prohibit the administration from imposing the visa restrictions while the legal challenge unfolds.
The case was brought by a group of 169 Indian nationals who recently returned to India after living in the United States on work visas and are now attempting to return. They argued that the proclamation was “arbitrary and capricious” and asked the government to process their visa applications.
Attorneys for the plaintiffs did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But they said in a court file that they will appeal.
The president’s visa order freezes until the end of the year the new H-1B and H-4 visas, widely used by technology workers and their families, as well as the L visas for intra-company transfers and most visas J for work and study. programs abroad.
Wednesday’s ruling was the second time this month that Mehta has denied a request to suspend the proclamation. As he did in a Sept. 4 ruling in a related case involving a group of visa applicants, Mehta found that Indian workers fell short of the high legal threshold for an order blocking the decree while litigation proceeds.
In both cases, the judge concluded that the plaintiffs were unlikely to succeed in showing that Trump exceeded his authority with the proclamation.
Another federal judge in Oakland, California, is weighing another request to block the decree from business groups, including the US Chamber of Commerce.
Bloomberg LP is among the companies that have voiced support for a court order blocking Trump’s policy.

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