Effective June 24, 2020, President Trump issued a new Proclamation to expand legal immigration restrictions. The proclamation will bar new temporary visas for foreign workers and their dependents through the remainder of 2020. The immediate change is that the prior suspension of immigrant visas for applicants from abroad is extended for the remainder of 2020. This now prevents new H-1B, H-2B, L-1A, L-1B and J-1 workers from abroad from being brought on by U.S. employers.
Implementation is not clear currently. It is also not clear if the Proclamation will be challenged through litigation yet. The Proclamation is limited to foreign nationals that are outside of the U.S. on the effective date of June 24, 2020. It affects those foreign nationals who do not have a nonimmigrant visa that is valid on June 24, 2020, and it also will affect those who do not have a travel document other than a visa that is valid on June 24, 2020, or issued on any date thereafter that permits their travel to the U.S. to seek admission or entry.
There are some exceptions to the Proclamation such as any foreign national traveling to the U.S. with a valid Advance Parole, lawful permanent residents, spouses and children of U.S. citizens, foreign nations entering to provide temporary services that are essential to the food chain supply of the U.S., foreign national children who are ageing out of qualifying for immigration benefits, those involved in the medical care to hospitalized COVID-19 patients, and those providing medical research for COVID-19 in the U.S.
The Trump administration feels this Proclamation is necessary to protect U.S. workers on the heels of job losses due to COVID-19. Employers should evaluate their current staff’s status and how this might affect operations for the remainder of 2020. Employers should also evaluate their future recruiting needs and how this new proclamation may affect your company going forward.