June 23, 2020
RE: President Trump Suspends H-1B, H-2B, J and L Visas
Dear Valued Clients:
Yesterday, President Trump signed a proclamation suspending certain work visas effective immediately to December 31, 2020. However, its application will likely be less than would seemingly be the case for the following reasons:
- The proclamation applies to aliens outside the United States and does not appear to affect those in the United States under lawful status. Most new H-1B visas belong to those who have changed their status, e.g. from F-1, L-1, TN etc.
- International travel is nearly impossible due to COVID-19.
- No visas are being issued anyway as most consulates or embassies are closed or operating at limited capacity.
- There are many exemptions. The “services essential to the U.S. food supply chain” and “national interest” exemptions are left open-ended in the proclamation.
The following visas are suspended:
- H-1B visas;
- H-2B visas;
- J visas participating in intern, trainee, teacher, camp counselor, au pair, or summer work travel programs;
- L visas;
- All aliens accompanying or following to join such aliens in the aforementioned visa categories.
The proclamation applies to:
- Aliens outside the United States on the effective date of the proclamation;
- Aliens that do not have a nonimmigrant visa that is valid as of the effective date;
- Aliens that do not have an official travel document, other than a visa, that is valid on the effective date.
The proclamation does not apply to:
- Any lawful permanent resident;
- Any spouse or child of a U.S. citizen;
- Any alien seeking to enter the U.S. to provide services essential to the U.S. food supply chain;
- Any Alien whose entry would in the national interest as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security or their designees.
Nothing in the proclamation limits the ability of an individual to seek asylum, refugee status, withholding of removal or protection under the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.