On June 22, 2020, President Trump issued another important Presidential Proclamation on immigration. This iteration is particularly pernicious, as it affects not only family-related visas but now popular business visas. Under the order, which became effective June 24, 2020, the government will be suspending the issuance of the following visas through December 31, 2020:
· H-1B visas and any foreign national accompanying or following to join them
· H-2B visas and any foreign national accompanying or following to join them
· J visas (for aliens participating in an intern, trainee, teacher, camp counselor, au pair, or summer work travel program)
· L visas and any foreign national accompanying or following to join them
The Proclamation applies to individuals outside the US on the effective date of the order who do not already have any of the aforementioned visas on the effective date or do not have an official travel document (other than a visa) valid on the effective date which would permit the person to enter the US.
The proclamation also extends President Trump’s April 22 Proclamation through December 31, 2020. This means that preference categories F2A (Spouses and unmarried children under 21 of permanent residents); F2B (unmarried children 21 or over of permanent residents); F-4 (siblings of US Citizens); and Parents of US Citizens, among others, will not receive immigrant visas at least through the end of the year.
There are some exceptions or carveouts protecting certain groups. Exempt people include the following:
· Lawful permanent residents
· Spouses and minor children of US Citizens
· Individuals seeking entry to provide temporary labor essential to the US food supply chain
· Any individual whose entry would be in the “national interest”
· Individuals seeking entry under EB-5 investor visas
· Members of the United States Armed Forces, and any spouse and children of a member of the US Armed Forces
· Canadians entering as H, L, or J nonimmigrants
The “national interest” exception includes consideration of individuals who
· Are critical to the defense, law enforcement, diplomacy or national security of the US
· 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 US facilities to help the US fight COVID-19
· Are necessary to facilitate the immediate and continued economic recovery of the US or
· Are children who might “age out” of eligibility for a visa due to either this proclamation or the April proclamation
Importantly, individuals who already have the designated visas prior to June 24, 2020, will still be allowed entry into the US. Additionally, those already inside the US in H, J, or L status are not explicitly targeted by the ban, although there is very ominous language dictating that the government shall consider issuing regulations “or take other appropriate action to ensure that the presence in the US of aliens who have been admitted or otherwise provided a benefit, or who are seeking admission or a benefit, pursuant to an EB-2 or EB-3 immigrant visa or an H-1B nonimmigrant visa does not disadvantage United States workers.” Without doubt, we will see that means in the future.
The above is general information only. It is not specific legal advice nor intended to create an attorney client relationship. If you need advice, please consult with an attorney.