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Trump orders suspension of certain work visas

On June 22, 2020 President Trump issued a widely expected Executive Order placing various entry restrictions on certain work visas. The Proclamation Suspending Entry of Aliens Who Present a Risk to the U.S. Labor Market Following the Coronavirus Outbreak is effective immediately and expires on December 31, 2020.

The restrictions only apply to foreign workers outside the United States without valid visa stamps already in their passports. This proclamation does not prohibit the entry into the U.S. of foreign workers (and dependent family members) that currently have valid visas in their passports.

Furthermore, the petition and application processes inside the U.S. will continue uninterrupted. Extensions of status applications (I-129, I-539), change of status applications, adjustment of status applications (I-485), I-140 Petitions for Immigrant Workers, EB-5, and all other petitions and applications will still be processed. Green Card filings, including PERMs, are not affected by this Proclamation.

Those barred from entering are foreign nationals that do not hold valid visa stamps in their passports and seek to enter the U.S. pursuant to H-1B (and dependent family members), H-2B (and dependent family members), J-1 (intern, trainee, teacher, camp counselor, au pair or summer work travel program) (and dependent family members), and L-1 (and dependent family members) with limited exceptions.

The exceptions may include the following: foreign national who is the spouse or child of a United States citizen; foreign worker whose entry into the U.S. would be in the national interest as determined by the Secretary of State, Secretary of Homeland Security, or their respective designees; any foreign worker seeking to enter the U.S. to provide temporary labor or services essential to the United States food supply chain; and any lawful permanent resident of the United States.

Other work visa categories, such as R-1, E-1, E-2, E-3, O-1, P, H-3, H-2A, and TN are not impacted. Also not impacted are certain J-1 categories including college and university student, physician, professor, research scholar, secondary school student, short-term scholar, and specialist. While rumored to be in the crosshairs, F-1 OPT and H-4 EADs were not included in the restrictions.

Please note that such foreign workers are still subject to the restrictions based on the various COVID-19 “travel bans” and restrictions placed on the visa application process due to the continued closures of U.S. consular posts.

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