A United States federal judge on Tuesday struck down two rules put in place by the Donald Trump administration aimed at drastically cutting down the number of visas issued annually to skilled foreign workers.
In October the Trump government had announced changes in the granting of visas like the H-1B visa, which included imposing salary requirements on companies employing skilled overseas workers and limits on specialty occupations. The administration had cited COVID-19 related job losses as the reason for these new rules, with the aim being to provide jobs to more Americans.
However, US District Judge in California, Jeffrey White said the government didn't follow transparency procedures and its contention that the changes were an emergency response to pandemic job losses didn’t hold because the administration has floated the idea for some time but only published the rules in October.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is an event beyond defendants’ control, yet it was within defendants’ control to take action earlier than they did," White wrote in his judgment.
The US issues up to 85,000 H-1B visas each year with maximum H-1B visa holders from India and China.