June 22, 2020

President Trump Signs Executive Order Suspending Certain H, J, and L Visa Holders from Entering the U.S. Through 2020

This e-mail is intended to provide a summary of the Presidential Proclamation issued today (June 22, 2020). First, a quick takeaway: The Proclamation affects only certain individuals who are outside the U.S. on or after the effective date (June 24, 2020). If you, or your foreign national employee(s) are currently inside the U.S. without plans to travel, the order does not affect any request for extension of stay or change of status pending or soon to be filed to USCIS. Please read further to find out more.

On the afternoon of Monday, June 22, President Trump announced that he signed an Executive Order temporarily suspending certain nonimmigrants from entering the United States for the remainder of 2020. The Executive Order will apply to individuals who are outside of the U.S. on the effective date and do not already have a valid H, J, or L, nonimmigrant visa, transportation letter, boarding foil, or advance parole document. Other nonimmigrant visa classifications, and those who are already in the U.S. in H, J or L status, are not impacted by the new Executive Order.

The following classes of nonimmigrant visa applicants are subject to the new Executive Order:

· H-1B or H-2B, and any dependent family members;

· J, to the extent the alien is participating in an intern, trainee, teacher, camp counselor, au pair, or summer work travel program, and any dependent family members; and

· L, and any dependent family members.

Importantly, the following nonimmigrant individuals are exempt from the order:

· Individuals inside the United States on the effective date of the proclamation;

· Individuals with a nonimmigrant visa that is valid on the effective date of the proclamation;

· Individuals with an official travel document other than a visa (such as transportation letter, an appropriate boarding foil, or an advance parole document) that is valid on the effective date of the proclamation or issued on any date thereafter that permits him or her to travel to the United States and seek entry or admission.

· Any lawful permanent resident of the United States;

· Any individual who is the spouse or child of a U.S. citizen;

· Any individual seeking to enter the U.S. to provide temporary labor or services essential to the United States food supply chain; and

· Any alien who entry would be in the national interest as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their respective designees.

The proclamation instructs the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Labor, and the Secretary of Homeland Security to define which individuals are considered “in the national interest,” including those who:

· Are critical to the defense, law enforcement, diplomacy, or national security of the U.S.;

· Involved with the provision of medical care to individuals who have contracted COVID-19 and are currently hospitalized;

· 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 Executive Order goes into effect at 12:01am Eastern Time on June 24, 2020. Although the restrictions will remain in place for the rest of 2020, the Executive Order does give government officials the opportunity to extend these restrictions.

The business community has heavily opposed the new Executive Order as the restrictions will prevent companies from recruiting talented and qualified foreign nationals for jobs that U.S. workers cannot fill. It is expected that this proclamation combined with the Executive Order suspending entry for immigrant visa holders will impact at least 525,000 foreign nationals this year.

Our office will reach out to impacted clients as quickly as possible to discuss available options.

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