President Trump has long been a vocal critic of the H-1B visa scheme, claiming it has been abused by employers and resulted in lower wages for American workers. His administration has now imposed a temporary ban on visas for foreign workers in an attempt to boost employment for U.S. workers laid off over the COVID-19 pandemic. Critics and tech companies have lambasted the move, however, arguing that Trump has exploited the situation to clamp down on immigration.
Before the current suspension, the denial rate for H-1B visas was already rising steadily. A Natonal Foundation for American Policy analysis of USCIS data found that the denial rate for H-1B visas stood at 6 percent halfway through Obama's second term. Since Trump took office, it increased steadily, reaching 24 percent FY 2018 and 30 percent by FY 2020. Trump's bid to shut foreign talent out of the American economy could have repercussions given that skilled immigrants have been crucial to the success of many of the country's most innovative and successful companies.