The U.S. government said Monday that it is extending a pause in the issuance of green cards to the end of the year and will expand the measure to include certain work visas.
President Donald Trump signed an executive order in April to curb immigration into the United States, which he said would ensure American workers are first to get jobs when the economy reopens after the coronavirus shutdown.
The move has led to a 60-day suspension in the issuance of permanent resident cards, known as green cards, which enable holders to take any job once they enter the United States.
On Monday, the pause was extended until the end of December. The administration also decided to halt by year-end the issuance of some nonimmigrant visas such as the H-1B, which is largely used by technology companies, the H-2B for nonagricultural temporary workers, as well as those for exchange visitors and intracompany transferees.
A senior government official said the measures will free up about 525,000 jobs for American workers over the course of the rest of the year.
Around a net 20 million jobs have been lost since February as businesses shuttered and many people stayed home to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. The U.S. economy is gradually reopening, but economists expect high unemployment to continue.