What You Need to Know about the Latest Restrictions on Foreign Workers

On June 22, 2020, President Trump issued a proclamation suspending entry into the US of certain aliens on non-immigrant work visas and extending suspension of immigrant visas through December 31, 2020. This proclamation is effective from June 24, 2020 until December 31, 2020, and does two things:
  1. It extends through December 31, 2020 the Presidential Proclamation 10014, issued on April 22, 2020, which prohibited entry of certain aliens on immigrant visas
  2. It adds new prohibitions: it suspends entry into the US of certain aliens on non-immigrant work visas.
The Proclamation suspends the issuance of visas for those seeking entry pursuant to the following visas:
  • H-1B visa and any foreign national accompanying or following to join them;
  • H-2B visa and any foreign national accompanying or following to join them;
  • J visa, to the extent the foreign national is participating in an intern, trainee, teacher, camp counselor, au pair, or summer work travel program, and any foreign national accompanying or following to join them; and
  • L visa, and any foreign national accompanying or following to join them.
The Proclamation does not apply to those already in the US, so change of status to these types of visas are still possible. The Proclamation will only apply to those who are:
  • Outside the United States on the effective date of the Proclamation;
  • Do not have a nonimmigrant visa that is valid on the effective date of the Proclamation; and
  • Do not have an official travel document other than a visa (such as a transportation letter, boarding foil, or advance parole document), valid on the effective date of the Proclamation or issued thereafter permitting the individual to be admitted to the United States.
There are four categories of exemptions applicable to the following individuals:
  • lawful permanent residents;
  • spouse or child of a U.S. citizen;
  • any individual seeking entry to provide temporary labor essential to the U.S. food supply chain;
  • any individual whose entry would be in the national interest as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their respective designees.
The “national interest” exemption covers individuals such as those those who:
  • are critical to the defense, law enforcement, diplomacy, or national security of the United States;
  • are involved with the provision of medical care to individuals who have contracted COVID-19 and are currently hospitalized;
  • are involved with the provision of medical research at U.S. facilities to help the United States combat COVID-19;
  • are necessary to facilitate the immediate and continued economic recovery of the United States; or
  • are children who would age out of eligibility for a visa because of this proclamation or Proclamation 10014.
The full text of the June 22, 2020 Proclamation is available here.
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