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Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

The Trump administration will ban entry into the U.S. for foreigners on certain temporary work visas — including high-skilled H-1B visas— through the end of the year, senior administration officials told reporters Monday afternoon.

Why it matters: The highly-anticipated immigration restrictions expand on President Trump's earlier coronavirus-related immigration ban introduced in late April — which was also extended through the end of the year.

  • Trump has leveraged emergency powers and economic concern from the coronavirus to slowly shut down large parts of the immigration system— even as he urges states to reopen.
  • The administration also announced Monday that it is working toward permanent regulatory reforms that would crack down on H-1B visas and work permits for asylum seekers.
  • The official said these steps could open up 525,000 U.S. jobs.

Details: In addition to H-1B visas often relied on by big U.S. tech companies, the restrictions on entry will also affect visas for H-1B spouses, non-agriculture worker H-2Bs visas, short-term workers on J-1 exchange visas, and L visas, which allow companies to transfer employees working overseas to U.S. offices.

  • The new restrictions will go into effect at 12:01am on Wednesday, June 24. They will remain in place through the end of the year, which will likely prevent many new H-1B visa workers outside of the country from entering the U.S.
  • Certain foreign workers involved in the food supply chain will be exempt from the ban, along with college and university professors on J visas. The medical worker exemption in the April restrictions was narrowed to exempt only those coming in to work on COVID-19 care or research, the official said.

The big picture: Trump's first COVID-related immigration ban prevented foreigners from obtaining permanent immigration green cards if they are outside the U.S. and don't already have valid visas or other travel documents — with some exceptions.

  • The State Department issued 43,000 immigrant visas in January, before the restrictions were implemented, per department data. In April, just 1,500 immigrant visas were issued.

This story is updated with details throughout.

Go deeper

Big Tech's fight for high-skilled visa holders

Data: National Foundation for American Policy and USCIS; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

The technology industry has long advocated for access and expansion of H-1B visas for skilled foreign workers and has been vocal about its disdain for President Trump's moves to curb them.

The big picture: Denial rates for H-1B visas for tech companies have gone up significantly during Trump's first term, according to government data compiled by the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP).

How some companies take advantage of H-1Bs to replace Americans

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Last month President Trump fired two Tennessee Valley Authority board members after the federally owned energy corporation replaced employees with foreign workers.

Why it matters: It was the latest example of big corporations — including AT&T, Disney and Southern California Edison — using H-1B visas for cheaper labor, and sometimes forcing Americans to first train their foreign replacements.

A story of winning, then almost losing the immigration lottery

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Last year Fatma became one of the lucky few selected out of millions who apply for the diversity visa lottery — a program intended to bring in immigrants from underrepresented countries.

What's happening: Now, the 29-year-old Albanian with a master's degree, and experience in hospital administration, is one of thousands fighting a pandemic and the Trump administration for her chance to move her family to the U.S.

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