In his latest Proclamation issued today, President Trump issued a new executive order that further restricts entry into the United States from certain classes of visas. This new order extends the executive order issued on April 22, 2020, and expands upon that order by also restricting certain H, J, and L visas. Trump issued the Proclamation based on record continuing unemployment caused by the COVID-19 virus. Below is what the executive order says and who it pertains to.
First, the Proclamation issued on April 22, 2020, is still in force, and will continue until December 31, 2020. This Proclamation affects those seeking permanent residency status and who were outside of the US on its Effective Date. Please see our blog post dated April 22, 2020, for a more thorough discussion on this executive order, and who it does and does not affect.
Next, the entry into the US of any alien seeking the following visas is suspended and limited, subject to certain exceptions discussed below:
(a) an H-1B or H-2B visa, and any alien accompanying or following to join such alien;
(b) a J visa, to the extent the alien is participating in an intern, trainee, teacher, camp counselor, au pair, or summer work travel program, and any alien accompanying or following to join such alien; and
(c) an L visa, and any alien accompanying or following to join such alien.
The above suspension is only applicable to persons who are outside the United States on the effective date of this proclamation; does not have a nonimmigrant visa that is valid on the effective date of this proclamation; and does not have an official travel document other than a visa that is valid on the effective date of this proclamation or issued on any date thereafter.
The Proclamation takes effect on 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time on June 24, 2020, and will remain valid until December 31, 2020.
The restrictions do not apply to:
(i) any lawful permanent resident of the United States;
(ii) an alien who is the spouse or child of a United States citizen;
(iii) an alien seeking to enter the United States to provide temporary labor or services essential to the United States food supply chain; and
(iv) an alien whose entry would be in the national interest as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their respective designees.
(v) those who are are critical to the defense, law enforcement, diplomacy, or national security of the United States; who are involved with the provision of medical care to individuals who have contracted COVID-19 and are currently hospitalized; who are involved with the provision of medical research at United States facilities to help the United States combat COVID-19; or are necessary to facilitate the immediate and continued economic recovery of the United States.
The Proclamation also does not limit the ability of an individual to seek asylum, refugee status, withholding of removal, or protection under the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, consistent with the laws of the United States.
The Proclamation further directs the Secretary of Labor in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security to review and recommend any measures to restrict EB-2 or EB-3 immigrant visa or an H-1B nonimmigrant visa if they are found to disadvantage U.S. workers even if they are in the United States. This statement is very important in that it is possible that further restrictions may be forthcoming from this Administration for those individuals who are under these visa categories and that are in the US. All of the previous Proclamations were targeted to those individuals who were outside of the United States.
In addition, the executive order further states that aliens are not eligible to apply for a visa unless they have supplied their biographical and biometrics (fingerprints, signatures or photographs); and prevents those who are subject to final orders of removal, who have been arrested, charged or convicted of a criminal offense in the US from obtaining eligibility to work in the US.
While the Proclamation issued today was expected, it appears that this is only the beginning. What is alarming in this Proclamation is that it explicitly directs the respective Secretaries to further study more restrictive measures specifically targeting those on H-1B, EB-2 and EB-3 visas, under the guise that these visas are hurting those seeking employment. Please continue to follow Paturi Law for all of the latest information.