Trump suspends visas for foreign workers, prompting business backlash

    President Trump has temporarily suspended new work visas and barred hundreds of thousands of foreigners from seeking employment in the U.S., the New York Times reports, which could affect some Baton Rouge companies.

    Visas have been blocked for a variety of jobs, including those for computer programmers and other skilled workers who enter the country under the H-1B visa, as well as those for seasonal workers in the hospitality industry, students on work-study summer programs and au pairs who come to the U.S. to care for children. 

    The IBM Client Innovation Center in Baton Rouge is among a number of companies with a local presence that uses H-1B visa workers. However, it’s unclear what impact the temporary suspension will have on the downtown firm; Charles Masters, IBM’s senior state executive for Louisiana, deferred comment to an IBM spokeswoman, who did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

    An industry group representing IBM and other Silicon Valley tech firms—called The Software Alliance—issued a statement highlighting the importance of their companies’ access to foreign talent, saying, “the software industry … [relies] on nonimmigrant visa programs.”

    Generally, the move—billed by the administration as a way to ensure Americans are first in line for scarce jobs—is fiercely opposed by business leaders, who say it will block their ability to recruit needed workers from countries overseas for jobs that Americans are not willing to do or not capable of performing.

    The order also restricts the ability of American companies with global operations and international companies with U.S. branches to transfer foreign executives and other employees to the U.S. for months or yearlong stints. It further blocks the spouses of foreigners who are employed at companies in the U.S. Read the full story.

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