The Trump administration announced a new executive order temporarily banning new entries through the following visas: H-1B, H-2B, L-1, and various J-1 categories.
The executive order impacts H-1B Professionals, H-2B Workers, L-1 Intracompany Transferees, and J-1 Exchange Visitors (those in the intern, trainee, teacher, camp counselor, au pair, or summer work travel program categories). According to the announcement, no more new visas in those categories will be issued in the year 2020. The order will go into effect after midnight on June 24, 2020, and will be valid through December 31, 2020. The full proclamation, published on Monday, June 22, can be read here.
This does not affect those who are already in the U.S. or those who have a valid visa.
Anyone already in the U.S., including those with an H1-B, H-2, J-1, or L-1 visa, will not be impacted by this executive order. Similarly, anyone currently outside of the U.S., but with a visa that is valid as of June 24, 2020, will not be affected. Exceptions will be granted to those with a U.S. citizen spouse or parent. There are also exceptions in place for those whose work would involve providing medical care to COVID-19 patients or researching COVID-19, as well as those whose temporary work is vital to the U.S. food supply chain. Finally, the order lists a non-specific “national interest” exception.
The stated purpose of this new executive order is to “protect unemployed Americans from the threat of competition for scarce jobs” as the economy recovers from COVID-19.
The order states that while the country recovers from the economic downturn caused by COVID-19, continuing to issue new visas in these categories would “[pose] a risk of displacing and disadvantaging United States workers.” The order comes following a previous April 22 proclamation that suspended the issuance of new immigrant visas for the same reason, which has been extended until December 31, 2020 in combination with the new order regarding the listed nonimmigrant visas.
What does this mean for me?
If you were planning to start an application for one of the impacted visas, and you are not currently in the U.S. and/or currently holding a valid visa, you will not be able to apply for the affected visas until after the December 31, 2020 expiration date of this order. However, if you’re currently in the U.S., we can move full steam ahead. Get in touch with us to discuss how this executive order impacts your immigration options.