Former President Donald Trump’s ban on guest worker visas has expired, allowing foreign workers to reapply for entry into the United States. The news is a win for tech companies including Apple, Twitter, and Google, each of which vocally opposed the policy.
Former President Donald Trump said the ban was a response to rising unemployment in the United States, due to the coronavirus pandemic. On the campaign trail, Joe Biden pushed back on this claim, calling it an attempt to distract from the Trump Administration’s failure on the virus.
The ban focused on H-1B visas, but impacted a broader range of workers, NPR reports. Executives at big corporations and students participating in work-study programs were also caught up in the fray.
Workers already in the United States also had their lives upended. In June 2020, an Egyptian tech worker in the Bay Area told The Verge that he’d planned to go back to Egypt for his brother’s wedding, but now couldn’t leave the country. “I feel like I’m selectively imprisoned,” he said. “If someone from my family gets sick, I can’t go back.”
In June, Apple CEO Tim Cook said he was “deeply disappointed” by the ban. Twitter said it undermined “America’s greatest economic asset: its diversity.” Both companies rely on H-1B visas to hire foreign workers without going through the traditional immigration process.
Like Apple, this nation of immigrants has always found strength in our diversity, and hope in the enduring promise of the American Dream. There is no new prosperity without both. Deeply disappointed by this proclamation.
— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) June 23, 2020
In an announcement on April 1st, the state department said workers who were refused visas due to Trump’s restrictions will now have to submit new applications.