Suspended Entry of Some Employment-based Nonimmigrant Visa Categories

June 24, 2020

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June 23, 2020

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June 22, 2020

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Presidential Proclamation Suspending Entry of Some Employment-based Nonimmigrant Visa Categories Through December 31, 2020

On June 22, 2020, President Trump issued a Presidential Proclamation extending the duration of the bar on immigrant visas through December 31, 2020 and creating a new temporary suspension of entry for foreign nationals attempting to enter the U.S. in the following employment-based, nonimmigrant visa categories: H-1B [specialty occupation], H-2B [temporary non-agricultural workers], L-1 [intracompany transferees], and J [exchange visitors].  The Presidential Proclamation will go into effect at 12:01 A.M. eastern daylight time on June 24, 2020 and be in force through December 31, 2020, with the potential for extensions thereafter.

Who is covered by the suspension of entry?

The Presidential Proclamation only covers a foreign national who meets all of the following three requirements:

  1. Outside the U.S. on the effective date of the Presidential Proclamation [June 24, 2020];
     
  2. Does not have a nonimmigrant visa valid on the effective date of the Presidential Proclamation; AND
     
  3. Does not have an official travel documents other than a visa [i.e. transportation letter, boarding foil, or advance parole document] that is valid on the effective date of the Presidential Proclamation or issued on any date thereafter that permits him/her to travel to the U.S. and seek admission.

Please note that the Presidential Proclamation does not apply to a foreign national who is already in U.S. soil.  As such, employers may be able to file extension petitions with U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services for employees who are in the U.S. in lawful nonimmigrant status. 

What nonimmigrant visa categories are included in the Presidential Proclamation? What is the immediate impact of the suspension of entry?

Foreign nationals in the following nonimmigrant visa categories, along with dependent family members accompanying or following to join them in the U.S., are now barred from receiving initial visas and entering the U.S.:

  • H-1B [specialty occupation] and H-2B [temporary non-agricultural workers], including any qualifying foreign national accompanying or following to join them in the U.S.
     
  • J [exchange visitors] in the following programs: “intern, trainee, teacher, camp counselor, au pair, or summer work travel,” including any qualifying foreign national accompanying or following to join them in the U.S.
     
  • L-1 [intracompany transferees], including any qualifying foreign national accompanying or following to join them in the U.S.

In practical terms, the latest Presidential Proclamation is largely symbolic due to the restrictions already in effect on lawful immigration as a consequence of the COVID-19  pandemic. By way of example, previous executive orders [i.e. Proclamation 9984, Proclamation 9992, Proclamation 9993, etc.] suspended entry of certain immigrant and nonimmigrant foreign nationals who were physically present within China, Iran, Schengen Countries, UK, and Ireland, 14 days prior to their entry into the U.S.  Equally important, President Trump has indefinitely suspended all routine immigrant and nonimmigrant visa services at all U.S. Embassies and U.S. Consulates.  The U.S. borders with Canada and Mexico are also closed for non-essential travel until at least July 21, 2020. 

Who is exempt from the Presidential Proclamation?

The Presidential Proclamation explicitly exempts the following individuals. Please note that Consular Officers should determine, in their discretion, whether a foreign national is exempted from the provisions of the Presidential Proclamation:

  • Any U.S. lawful permanent residents;
     
  • Any foreign national who is the spouse or child of a U.S. citizen;
     
  • Any foreign national seeking to enter the U.S. for “temporary labor or services essential to the United States food supply chain” and
     
  • Any foreign national whose entry would be in “the national interest.”

The Presidential Proclamation izes the Secretaries of State, Labor, and 凯8娱乐官方网站homeland Security to define who falls under the “national interest” exception and states that any such standards should include foreign nationals who are: 1) “critical to the defense, law enforcement, diplomacy, or national security” of the U.S.; 2) provide medical care to hospitalized COVID-19 patients; 3) provide COVID-19 medical research in the U.S.; or 4) are “necessary to facilitate the immediate and continued economic recovery of the United States.”

© 2020 Foley & Lardner LLPNational Law Review, Volume X, Number 175

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About this

Roy Barquet, Labor Attorney, Foley and Lardner Law FIrm
Partner

Roy J. Barquet is a partner and immigration lawyer with Foley & Lardner LLP, where he focuses his practice on immigration litigation and labor and employment. He has experience with business-related immigration issues, audits of employers' compliance with immigration and labor regulations, employment-based immigrant visa petitions, investment and professional visas, labor certifications and family-based immigrant visa petitions. Mr. Barquet is particularly skilled in addressing legal issues confronting multinational companies in the transfer of U.S. and foreign...

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Vaitiari Rodriguez Government & Public Policy Attorney Foley & Lardner Miami, FL
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Vaitiari Rodriguez is an associate with Foley & Lardner LLP and a member of the firm’s Government & Public Policy Practice. She represents clients in regulatory and government relations matters involving employment-based immigrant visa petitions, investment and professional visas, and family-based immigrant visa petitions.

Ms. Rodriguez served as a summer associate in Foley’s Miami office, where she assisted with several litigation matters, drafted discovery documents and motions for a variety of civil cases, and conducted document review of complex manufacturing defect litigation.

Ms. Rodriguez also gained experience as a clinical intern at UC Berkeley, School of Law International Human Rights Law Clinic, where she conducted extensive legal research and analysis of international law and provided strategic legal advice to clients regarding transitional justice in Sri Lanka and gender equality in international judicial and adjudicatory bodies. Prior to that, Ms. Rodriguez held several legal positions in various organizations, including legal intern at the International Human Rights Workshops, student advocate at California Asylum Representation Clinic, and public interest fellow at World Bank’s Integrity Vice Presidency.

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