On Monday, June 22, 2020, President Trump released a Presidential Proclamation and an accompanying fact sheet that suspends the entry into the U.S. of several nonimmigration classifications. The Presidents stated objective is to ensure that U.S. workers are hired first due to the current high unemployment rate. This proclamation is effective through December 31, 2020.
This proclamation does not apply to individuals who are currently in the U.S. so they should still be able to travel outside the U.S. in the future and apply for and receive the necessary visa (assuming Consulates are still not closed due to COVID-19 concerns). The key provisions include:
- Temporary suspension of entry for individuals who are seeking to immigrate permanently and are currently located outside the United States.
- The proclamation applies to foreign nationals who seek to enter the United States in H-1B/H-4, H-2B, L-1/ L-2 status.
- The proclamation also applies to those requesting admission in J status “…who are participating in an intern, trainee, teacher, camp counselor, au pair, or summer work travel program, and any alien accompanying or following to join such alien.”
- This EO is effective at 12:01 a.m. eastern on June 24, 2020 and will remain in effect until 12/31/20, and may continue as necessary
There are several exceptions to this proclamation stating that the following individuals are NOT covered:
- Anyone already in the United States on June 22, 2020
- Certain J-1 visas for Physicians, short term or long term scholars, or students (specifically included in the proclamation as being impacted are “an intern, trainee, teacher, camp counselor, au pair, or summer work travel program, and any alien accompanying or following to join such alien”)
- Anyone who hold a valid visa stamp in their passport on June 22, 2020
- Anyone who have an authorized travel document on June 22, 2020
- Anyone “whose entry would be in the national interest” as determined by the Secretary of State or Secretary of Homeland Security, The Secret of State, the Secretary of Labor, and the Secretary of Homeland Security will establish the standards to define “national interest,” including those who: are critical to the defense, law enforcement, diplomacy, or national security of the United States; are involved with the provision of medical care to individuals who have contracted COVID-19 and are currently hospitalized; are involved with the provision of medical research at United States facilities to help the United States combat COVID-19; or are necessary to facilitate the immediate and continued economic recovery of the United States.
- Anyone seeking entry in O-1 or P status
- Green card holders (lawful permanent residents)
- The spouse or minor child of a US citizen
There are several areas that require clarification, including:
- Are Canadians entirely exempt as they do not require a visa?
- Does the visa have to be in the same non-immigrant category?
It is very likely that this proclamation will be litigated and if a court issues a temporary injunction, this could impact the enactment just like we saw with the various versions of President Trumps travel bans.
If you have questions about how this applies to your employees, please contact SPS Immigration.