Trump also blocked those entering on H-2B seasonal worker visas, which are used by landscapers and other industries.
Opposing the Trump administration's "sweeping attempt" to restrict legal immigration, the Chamber of Commerce on Monday (local time) said suspending work visas to secure high-skilled jobs for Americans in a bid to revive the coronavirus-battered economy would not help the country and would rather only slow down growth and reduce job creation in US markets.
"Today's proclamation is a severe and sweeping attempt to restrict legal immigration. Putting up a 'not welcome' sign for engineers, executives, IT experts, doctors, nurses and other workers won't help our country, it will hold us back. Restrictive changes to our nation's immigration system will push investment and economic activity abroad, slow growth, and reduce job creation," US Chamber of Commerce CEO Tom Donohue said in a statement.
"We are fighting for more investment and more growth in America because that means more jobs, and today that fight takes on a new level of urgency. We have long advocated for a rational immigration system that meets the needs of our economy and reflects the values of our country. Today's proclamation serves neither of those interests. The US Chamber will continue to strongly advocate for an immigration system that serves the interests of all Americans," it read.
Trump issued a presidential proclamation that temporarily blocks foreign workers entering on H-1B visas, which are for skilled employees, and L visas, for managers and specialised workers being transferred within a company. Trump also blocked those entering on H-2B seasonal worker visas, which are used by landscapers and other industries.
The visa suspension, which runs to the end of the year, seems to open up some 525,000 jobs for American workers, a senior administration official told reporters.
The official, who did not explain how the administration arrived at that figure, said the move was geared at "getting Americans back to work as quickly as possible."
But businesses including major tech companies and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said the visa suspension would stifle the economic recovery after the damage done by the pandemic.
The development marks the latest efforts to bar the entry of immigrants to the country.