News/Pubs/Events

Proclamation Suspending Immigration: What You Need to Know

On June 22, 2020, President Trump issued the “Proclamation Suspending Entry of Aliens Who Present a Risk to the U.S. Labor Market Following the Coronavirus Outbreak.” The proclamation becomes effective on Thursday, June 24, 2020 at 12:01 AM (ET).  It extends and expands the April “Proclamation Suspending Entry of Immigrants Who Present Risk to the U.S. Labor Market During the Economic Recovery Following the COVID-19 Outbreak.”

The new proclamation temporarily suspends – through December 31, 2020 – the issuance of most H-1B, H-2B, J-1, and L-1 visas (and visas for any dependents “following to join” them).

The proclamation applies to foreign nationals who:

  • Are outside of the United States on the effective date of the proclamation;
  • Do not hold valid visas on the effective date; and
  • Do not hold other valid travel documents (transportation letters, boarding foils, or advance parole documents) that permit travel to the U.S.

The proclamation exempts many categories of individuals from the suspension.

What are the exceptions?

Among other limited exceptions, the proclamation does not apply to:

  • Anyone who is in the U.S. on the effective date of the proclamation;
  • Lawful Permanent Residents;
  • Spouses or children of U.S. citizens;
  • Any individual seeking entry to provide temporary labor essential to the U.S. food supply chain;
  • Any individual whose entry would be in the national interest;
  • An individual whose entry is critical to the defense, law enforcement, diplomacy, or national security of the United States;
  • An individual who is involved with the provision of medical care to individuals who have contracted COVID-19 and are currently hospitalized;
  • An individual who is involved with the provision of medical research at U.S. facilities to help the United States combat COVID-19; or
  • An individual whose entry is necessary to facilitate the immediate and continued economic recovery of the United States.

What does this mean?

The proclamation applies only to those who are currently outside of the U.S. If a foreign national is already in the U.S., it appears that she will be able to apply to change status to H, J, or L status and/or to apply for permanent resident status under any acceptable classification.

If a foreign national is outside of the U.S. but holds a nonimmigrant or immigrant visa, a permanent resident card, or an advance parole document, she may still travel and be admitted to the U.S.

Those most affected by the proclamation are those individuals who are in the process of applying, or who were soon planning to apply, for visas abroad.

What can employers do?

Employers can help provide peace of mind to foreign national employees by confirming that – at least at this time – the proclamation does not apply to individuals currently in the U.S. and does not limit their ability to extend or change status in the U.S. While international travel is not necessarily recommended, those with valid visa stamps or permanent resident cards are not affected by the proclamation.

If you have any questions or require immigration-related advice or assistance, please contact Nici Kersey.