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US judge blocks H-1B visa ban

Washington DC: In a major relief to thousands of Indian IT professionals, a federal judge in the US on Thursday blocked the enforcement of a temporary visa ban by the Trump administration on a large number of work permits, including the most sought after H-1B visas, ruling that the president exceeded his constitutional authority.

The order issued by US District Judge Jeffrey White of Northern District of California applies to members of organisations that filed a lawsuit against the Department of Commerce and Department of Homeland Security -- the US Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Manufacturers, National Retail Federation, TechNet, a technology industry group, and Intrax Inc., which sponsors cultural exchanges.

The ruling places an immediate hold on a series of damaging visa restrictions that prevent manufacturers from filling crucial, hard-to-fill jobs to support economic recovery, growth and innovation when most needed, the National Association of manufacturers said.

In June, Trump had issued an executive order that had put temporary bar on issuing of new H-1B visas, which are widely used by major American and Indian technology companies, H-2B visas for nonagricultural seasonal workers, J visas for cultural exchanges and L visas for managers and other key employees of multinational corporations till the end of the year.

The president had argued that the US needs to save and protect jobs for its domestic work force at a time when millions of them lost their jobs due to the Coronavirus

pandemic.

A number of IT companies and other US companies and those representing them had voiced their opposition to it.

Manufacturers went to court to challenge the administration's ban on certain visas because the restrictions both undermined the industry at a critical time and conflicted with the law, said NAM senior vice president and general counsel Linda Kelly.

We are competing with the rest of the world to find and develop top talent to support innovation in our industry. Today's decision is a temporary win for manufacturers committed to building that innovation in the United States, he said.

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