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White House Clarifies Order Suspending Most US Work Visas

The White House has amended a sweeping suspension of U.S. work visas to clarify who is exempt from the order President Donald Trump signed last week.

The original order said that anyone who had a “non-immigrant visa” as of June 24 was exempt from the ban, which could have included tourist visas and other categories not covered by the order.

The new version, issued Monday, exempts only those who already had visas in the categories targeted by the proclamation, which include highly skilled workers, trainees, exchange workers and summer laborers as well as those being transferred within a company from a foreign post to a U.S. office.

Some legal experts said the original order contained a “major draft error.” It is not uncommon for executive orders to be clarified after they are issued.

When asked for comment, a White House spokesperson told VOA on background that the existing language was “fairly standard and is intended to convey that an existing visa holder would not be suspended from traveling on that H-1B [skilled worker visa].”

The spokesperson added, “But some visa holders who were not suspended, like B visa [business] holders, were wondering whether they could acquire and travel on a brand new visa. That was not within the intent of the exemption, so we thought it best to clarify,” the spokesperson said.

The order restricts foreign work visas through the end of the year.

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