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CORONAVIRUS CASUALTIES (Feb 28):- GLOBAL:- Total Cases: 11,44,64,297; Total Deaths: 25,39,067 Recovered: 9,00,08,036 BELGIUM:- Total Cases: 7,69,414; Total Deaths: 22,052 BRAZIL:- Total Cases: 1,05,17,232; Total deaths: 2,54,263 CANADA:- Total Cases: 8,64,196; Total Deaths: 21,960 CHINA:- Total Cases: 89,893 ; Total Deaths: 4,636 FRANCE:- Total Cases: 37,36,016; Total Deaths: 86,332 GERMANY:- Total Cases: 24,44,177 Total Deaths: 70,589 INDIA:- Total Cases: 1,10,96,731; Total Deaths: 1,57,087 INDONESIA:- Total Cases: 13,34,634; Total Deaths: 36,166 IRAN:- Total Cases: 16,31,169; Total Deaths: 60,073 ITALY:- Total Cases: 29,07,825; Total Deaths: 97,507 JAPAN:- Total Cases: 4,30,539; Total Deaths: 7,807 MEXICO:-Total Cases: 20,84,128; Total Deaths: 1,85,257 NETHERLANDS:- Total Cases: 10,84,021; Total Deaths: 15,543 PHILIPPINES:- Total Cases: 5,76,352; Total Deaths: 12,318 RUSSIA:- Total Cases: 42,46,079; Total Deaths: 86,122 S KOREA:- Total Cases: 89,676; Total Deaths: 1,603 SPAIN:-Total Cases: 31,88,553; Total Deaths: 69,142 SWEDEN:- Total Cases: 6,57,309 Total Deaths: 12,826 SWITZERLAND:-Total Cases: 5,54,932; Total Deaths: 9,966 UAE:- Total Cases: 3,91,524; Total Deaths: 1,221 UK:- Total Cases: 41,70,519; Total Deaths: 1,22,705; US:- Total Cases: 2,92,02,824; Total Deaths: 5,24,669 - India Travel Times.Com   [Estd: 1998]       * * *    Travel, More Travel, Travel Means A Million Things     * * *    
Trump extends freeze on green cards, H-1B visas till March 31
Hundreds of thousands of foreign skilled workers, mostly Indians, who were waiting to enter the US on H-1B and other work visas are affected by the extension of the freeze. Trump argues that he needs to protect American workers as the pandemic has rendered a large number of local workers jobless.

WASHINGTON, Dec 31: President Trump has extended a freeze on H-1B and other work visas up to March 31 as, according to him, the labour market crisis of mounting unemployment caused by coronavirus pandemic continues to be the same. The orders issued in June were to expire on December 31. The freeze affects hundreds of thousands of foreign skilled workers, especially H-1B visa applicants, who are waiting in the queue to enter America.

Trump, wanting to stem the rising unemployment crisis, had on June 22 signed a proclamation putting a freeze on green cards for new immigrants and also issued an executive order to suspend new H-1B, L-1, J and other temporary work visas for skilled workers, managers and au pairs through the end of the year.

The order did not apply to H-2A agriculture workers and health care workers involved in treating coronavirus patients, and had provision to seek exemptions.

H-1B visas are mainly for those skilled in the tech sector and L-1 visas are meant for executives who work for large corporations. Other workers like even au pairs were affected, but not professors and scholars. The order was not to affect immigrants and visa holders already in the US. Business groups, both foreign and US, opposed the move. Even while laying off local workers, they were in fact demanding cheaper foreign labour.

While, US Chamber of Commerce and National Associations of Manufacturers filed lawsuits against the visa halt orders, others like RJ Hauman of the Federation for American Immigration Reform supported the proclamation.

"The ban on H-1B visas, which are often used to fill very niche positions that are not easily found in the American workforce, will ultimately prove to be counterproductive and is an example of using a nuclear bomb to address a bar fight," NPR quoted Leon Fresco, a former deputy assistant attorney general in the Obama administration who now represents H-1B workers.

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