|NEW EXECUTIVE ORDER RESTRICTS CERTAIN WORKING VISAS THROUGH END OF YEAR|
|RESTRICTED ENTRY UNDER LATEST PROCLAMATION Proclaiming to protect the US labor market, on Monday, June 22, 2020, President Trump signed a new executive order restricting entry into the United States of most H-1B (specialty occupation professional), H-2B (non-agricultural temporary worker), J (exchange visitor), and L (intracompany transferee) nonimmigrants and their accompanying family members. The order, which is effective through December 31, 2020, does not apply to individuals who are inside the United States, or to those who are outside of the country and already have valid non-immigrant visas. See https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/proclamation-suspending-entry-aliens-present-risk-u-s-labor-market-following-coronavirus-outbreak/ Therefore, it is limited to those outside the US who do not have, but who must obtain, a visa in order to board transportation to enter the US.|
Exceptions to the Order include: a) current permanent residents, b) spouses and children of US citizens, c) workers who are essential to the US food supply chain, d) non-immigrants whose entry is necessary to facilitate the continued economic recovery of the United States, and e) workers whose entry into the United States is in the national interest, including health care workers involved in treating or researching COVID-19. EXTENSION OF PREVIOUS RESTRICTIONS ON ISSUANCE OF GREEN CARDS AT US CONSULATES OVERSEAS
The new policy also extends the President’s order of April 22, 2020, in which he suspended the issuance of immigrant visas (green cards) to overseas applicants processing for permanent residence at US consulates abroad. With the exception of spouses and minor children of US citizens, most green card applicants outside the United States will be prohibited from obtaining visas they need to enter the US as permanent residents, through the end of 2020. EXISTING “TRAVEL BAN” REMAINS IN PLACE On June 19, 2020, Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany confirmed that for now, President Trump has no plans to lift the travel “ban” which constitutes a set of restrictions on travel into the US by persons who have been in the Schengen area. Additional travel restrictions also apply to the U.K. and Ireland, Islamic Republic of Iran, and the People’s Republic of China and (most recently) Brazil, prior to entry to the US. This will affect even those travelers who already have a visa or travel document. There are specific exceptions for certain classes of individuals, for example, citizens and green card holders, as well as exemptions for those providing essential services for health care and other matters which might be considered “in the national interest” of the US. This proclamation would prevent an affected traveler from boarding an airline for the US unless s/he meets an exemption. ONGOING CHALLENGES IN OBTAINING VISAS DUE TO CONSULAR CLOSURES WORLDWIDE If the traveler does not already have a visa or travel document s/he must also first obtain one. In that case s/he would also be affected by the current closure of all US consulates worldwide that are subject to reopening in the future (without date). Recently, interviews are being tentatively scheduled for the end of September (or later) subject to rescheduling by the consulate. Given space limitations and need to social distance, fewer interviews will be scheduled each month, and we can anticipate longer delays in scheduling and issuance of visas. NEW REGULATIONS TO BE ISSUED AFFECTING H-1B AND EB-2 AND EB-3 CATEGORIES
Finally, the measure also instructs the government to promulgate new regulations to ensure that H-1B visa holders and certain green card applicants do not disadvantage US workers. These could include measures proposed earlier, for example, a new points system, limiting H-1Bs to specific wage levels, additional fees and recruitment requirements, and/or reductions in the total H-1B Cap. Therefore, identifying and initiating H-1B and L-1 extensions and filing as soon as possible is recommended. Because of potential changes to the labor certification process prudent employers should immediately identify key personnel they wish to retain and initiate the “PERM” process as early as possible prior to the institution of any new fees and requirements.
We will continue to update you as additional information becomes available. multiple agencies R(including DHS, USCIS, CBP, DOL, DOS, ICE/EOIR) are releasing information on a daily basis on policy changes. The situation is fluid and case specific. We encourage you to reach out to us to review individual questions that concern how these developments affect you.