Trump's work visas ban could hurt economy, feels like political ploy, Illinois business leaders say

The ban targets doctors, engineers, seasonal hospitality workers, students, au pairs
CHICAGO (WLS) -- President Donald Trump's new immigration ban targeting highly skilled, highly educated workers could have negative impacts on the economy, Illinois business leaders said.

The targets of the immigration ban are, among others, doctors, engineers and researchers.

"H-1B visas, they get snatched up within days, sometimes hours," said Todd Maisch, Illinois Chamber of Commerce. "It just tells you how much demand there is for high level skilled people. Everybody that is in America who has those skills, already has those jobs, there's just this gap between demand and the number of folks who can go ahead and meet it."

Also banned are seasonal workers in the hospitality industry, students on work-study summer programs, and au pairs. The order additionally restricts the ability of American companies with global operations to transfer foreign executives between branches.

"Something I'm really seeing in my practice is companies saying, 'Boy, if we can't get the talent in the U.S., how are we going to get the talent to Canada, how can we get it to Australia, New Zealand, how can we grow the operations in Europe because we don't see the future for our operations in the U.S.,'" said Ian Wagreich, immigration attorney.

And while the financial impact this ban might have in Illinois cannot be readily measured, business leaders, who are generally friendly toward the president, worry immigration is being used as a political football to the detriment of overall economic health.

"This one has the feel of a political ploy for his base," said Maisch. "Unfortunately, he's discouraging a lot of business owners and business people that want to support this president, but are very frustrated over his immigration policies."

The work visa ban does not apply to seasonal farm workers, or to certain medical workers dealing specifically with coronavirus research. It is set to remain in effect at least through the end of 2020.
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