President Biden will let a ban on certain temporary foreign work visas expire on Wednesday, according to two administration officials, reopening a labor pool that was cut off by his predecessor during the coronavirus pandemic.
Former President Donald J. Trump blocked visas for a variety of jobs in a sweeping order last June, including those for computer programmers and engineers who enter the United States on H-1B visas, students on work-study programs and seasonal workers in the hospitality industry.
The Trump administration said at the time that the ban on temporary work visas, as well as a separate block on green cards, was necessary to protect employment opportunities for Americans who lost their jobs because of the economic toll of the pandemic. But numerous studies have shown that immigrants benefit the economy. Business leaders openly criticized the orders as blocking critically needed employees willing to work jobs that Americans are not willing to do or capable of doing.
After business associations filed a lawsuit against the order on foreign workers, a federal judge in California in October lifted the ban on a large number of the work visas.
The ruling at the time only applied to members of organizations that sued the administration, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Manufacturers, National Retail Federation, Intrax Inc., which sponsors cultural exchanges, and TechNet, a technology industry group.
Mr. Biden had already revoked Mr. Trump’s ban on new green cards, saying it did not “advance the interests of the United States.” Even during the pandemic, Mr. Biden said the restrictions harmed the nation by “preventing certain family members of United States citizens and lawful permanent residents from joining their families here. It also harms industries in the United States that utilize talent from around the world.”