Administration Expands Ban On Legal ImmigrationJune 24, 2020
On June 22, 2020, President Trump signed the Proclamation Suspending Entry of Aliens Who Present a Risk to the U.S. Labor Market Following the Coronavirus Outbreak. This Proclamation suspends the entry of foreign nationals on certain employment-based nonimmigrant visas into the U.S. This Proclamation also extends, effective immediately, Presidential Proclamation 10014 issued on April 22, 2020, which suspended the entry of certain immigrants into the U.S. A summary of the Presidential Proclamation 10014 can be found at President Trump’s Executive Order to Suspend Immigration Following the COVID-19 Outbreak. The Proclamation takes effect on June 24, 2020 and will remain in effect through December 31, 2020.
The Proclamation specifically expands the suspension of issuance of nonimmigrant visas for those seeking entry pursuant to a(n):
- H-1B visa (specialty occupation) and any foreign national accompanying or following to join them;
- H-2B visa (temporary non-ag worker) and any foreign national accompanying or following to join them;
- J visa (exchange visitor), 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 (intracompany transferee) and any foreign national accompanying or following to join them.
The Proclamation will only apply to individuals if they are:
- Outside the U.S. on June 24, 2020;
- Do not have a nonimmigrant visa that is valid on June 24, 2020; and
- Do not have an official travel document other than a visa (such as a transportation letter, boarding foil, or advance parole document), valid June 24, 2020 or issued thereafter permitting the individual to be admitted to the U.S.
The following categories are exempted from the Proclamation:
- Lawful permanent resident;
- Spouse or child of a U.S. citizen;
- Any individual seeking entry to provide temporary labor essential to the U.S. food supply chain; and
- 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 Proclamation directs the Secretaries of State, Labor, and Homeland Security to establish standards for those to whom a “national interest” exemption would be available, including any individuals who:
- Are critical to the defense, law enforcement, diplomacy, or national security of the U.S.;
- 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 U.S. combat COVID-19;
- Are necessary to facilitate the immediate and continued economic recovery of the U.S.; or
- Are children who would age out of eligibility for a visa because of this Proclamation or Proclamation 10014.
Within 30 days of the Proclamation’s effective date, and every 60 days after, while it and Proclamation 10014 are in effect, the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretaries of Labor and State will make a determination as to any need to modify either Proclamation. Additional measures the administration may take are:
- Issue regulations or take additional actions to ensure that those who have already been admitted, or are seeking admission, on an EB-2 immigrant visa, EB-3 immigrant visa, or H-1B nonimmigrant visa do not limit opportunity for U.S. workers.
- Undertake investigations of Labor Condition Application (LCA) violations.
- Consider issuing regulations or other actions concerning the allocation of visas and ensuring that the presence of H-1B workers in the U.S. does not negatively affect U.S. workers. This may include prioritizing the highest paid H-1B workers in the numerical cap.
What is the current state of immigration?
As of March 20, 2020, routine visa services at all U.S. embassies and consulates have been suspended. U.S. embassies and consulates continue to provide urgent and emergency visa services as resources allow. Beginning June 4, 2020, certain USCIS field offices and asylum offices resumed non-emergency face-to-face services to the public. Application support centers will resume services later. Despite these limitations, USCIS continues to accept and process applications and petitions, including applications requesting an extension or change of status.
If you have any questions about this alert, please contact the Labor, Employment and Benefits members of our COVID-19 Response Team indentified below:
Diana Morales McFarland
Contact information for the complete McGrath North’s COVID-19 Response Team can be found here.
For information regarding additional business-related concerns centered around COVID-19, please visit our COVID-19 Resource Guide here.