Last week, President Trump signed a proclamation suspending the issuance of new H-1B, H-2B, J and L visas through December 31, 2020 (description of the types of visas are included below). The proclamation, which took effect on June 24, also limits the entry of any non-U.S. citizen or national into the U.S. that was outside the U.S. on June 24, did not have a nonimmigrant visa valid on June 24, and didn’t have an official travel document (other than a visa) valid on June 24.
In taking this action, the proclamation extends the 60-day temporary restrictions originally issued on April 22 to address the COVID-19 pandemic, except for a few changes (which are noted below). This means businesses and industries that rely on immigrant work visas that were suspended need to be prepared or they may be unable to fill their anticipated labor needs.
So what are the categories of visas suspended?
What are the exceptions to the suspensions and restrictions to entry?
Notably, some exceptions are included in the April proclamation. Thus, http:E Visas, available to qualified investors, treaty traders and specialty occupation workers from Australia, remain available. Also exempt from the visa ban proclamation are any medical personnel performing work to combat COVID-19. Complicating the situation is the fact that all American consular offices remain closed.
In sum, employers that regularly rely on temporary workers with H-1B, H-2B, J or L visas or that have been planning on using such workers during the 2020 calendar year should confirm what, if any, impact the president’s June 22 proclamation will have on their workforce and operations. To explore the alternative options available, you should consult with your attorneys.
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