• Emily McIntosh

Presidential Proclamation: Suspension of Legal Immigration from outside the U.S.

President Trump, on June 22, signed an Executive Order announcing the extension of prior restrictions on immigrant visas until at least December 31, 2020. Also, new restrictions have been placed on H-1B, H-2B, J-1 and L-1 visa applicants and their depends starting June 24, 2020. The restrictions, however, do not apply to TN, O-1, E-3 and certain other visas not mentioned in this article.

Restrictions on immigrant visas (green cards or permanent residency)

The prior and new executive action do not impact the opportunity for foreign national individuals already present in the United States from seeking permanent residency through adjustment of status or from filing any petitions for getting a green card, including labor certifications or I-140 petitions.

Restrictions on non-immigrant visas (H-1B, H-2B, L-1 and J-1)

The suspension affects the following non-immigrant visa categories –

  • H-1B (specialty occupation workers)

  • H-4 (dependents of H-1B visa holders)

  • H-2B (seasonal non-agricultural workers)

  • L-1 (intracompany transfers)

  • L-2 (dependents of L-1 visa holders)

  • J-1 (cultural & educational exchange interns and trainees)

  • J-2 (dependents of J-1 visa holders)

Exceptions

The restrictions do not apply to J-1 professors, research scholars, short-term scholars, physicians or university students.

More importantly, the restrictions also DO NOT apply to –

  • Anyone who is physically present in the United States

  • Individuals who have valid non-immigrant visas

  • Individuals who are in the process of filing petitions for new H-1B

  • Individuals with valid advance parole

  • Individuals who work in US food supply chain

Note – traveling internationally during this time may not be advisable. If a foreign national employee does need to travel, we recommend consulting with an immigration legal counsel.


We believe that the H-1B visa program bridges a much needed skill gap in the US. Overwhelming, studies have proven that US immigration helps rather than hinders US economic growth and innovation. Therefore, the administration's action to address the unemployment problem might not be based on compelling data. As of May 14, there were 625,000 computer occupation jobs vacancies in the US. A high percentage of H-1B professionals work in computer science occupations.  Many H-1B professionals work for universities, hospitals and businesses that are directly involved in technical, scientific and medical solutions aimed at fighting the pandemic and improving the US economy. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for individuals in computer occupations in May of 2020 was 2.5%, which is lower than the 3.0% unemployment rate for computer occupations in January of 2020, prior to the pandemic. The current actions by the administration targets a group of workers who might not be contributing to the current economic crisis.  

This is a high level summary of the major provisions of the June 22, 2020 presidential proclamation. To read the full article, use the following link –

https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/proclamation-suspending-entry-aliens-present-risk-u-s-labor-market-following-coronavirus-outbreak/



Content in this publication is not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. For additional information on the issues discussed, consult a WayLit-affiliated attorney or another qualified professional.

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