Published on June 23, 2020
The White House has issued a new Presidential Proclamation extending and expanding the original Proclamation issued on April 22, 2020, and titled “Proclamation Suspending Entry of Aliens Who Present a Risk to the U.S. Labor Market Following the Coronavirus Outbreak.” The prior Proclamation suspended the entry of certain immigrants into the U.S. Please see our attached post regarding the original Proclamation: White House Proclamation Suspends the Entry of Certain Immigrants to the U.S.
The Proclamation extension is effective as of 12:01am EDT on June 24, 2020, will be in effect through December 31, 2020, and may be extended beyond this date.
The President has directed the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Labor, to recommend any modifications to the Presidential Proclamation within 30 days of the effective date of the Proclamation and then every 60 days thereafter.
Restrictions on Nonimmigrants Outside the U.S. Without a Valid Visa Stamp
The Proclamation suspends and restricts the entry of individuals without valid visa stamps in their passports, who are outside the U.S. under certain nonimmigrant visa categories, including H-1B, L-1, H-2B, and J-1 (intern, trainee, teacher, camp counselor, au pair, or summer work travel program), as of the effective date of the Proclamation on June 24, 2020 until December 31, 2020. In addition, dependent family members accompanying or following to join nonimmigrant visa holders under one of these categories, including H-4, L-2 and J-2 visa holders, are restricted from entry into the U.S. if they are outside the U.S. and do not have a valid visa stamp as of the effective date of the order. This means that nonimmigrants who fall under one of these categories and are currently outside the U.S. are eligible to return to the U.S. as long as they have a valid visa stamp in their passport.
What Foreign Nationals are Not Impacted by the Proclamation
- Permanent residents of the U.S.
- Foreign nationals (and accompanying dependent family members) that seek admission into the U.S. in visa classifications, including E-1, E-2, E-3, O-1, P, and TN visa holders.
- Individuals who are currently in the U.S. and applying for an extension, change, or amendment of status under the H-1B, H-4, L-1, L-2, H-2B, J-1 or J-2 nonimmigrant categories with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
- H-1B visa holders currently in the U.S. from transferring their H-1B status to another employer.
- Certain J-1 visa holders, including college and university students, physicians, professors, research scholars, secondary school students, short-term scholars, and specialists.
- Individuals applying for permanent resident status in the U.S. through the adjustment of status process.
- Spouses and children of U.S. citizens.
- Individuals providing labor or services essential to the U.S. food supply chain, including H-2B workers providing services in the food processing or seafood industry.
While it appears that the Proclamation may not impact Canadian citizens in H-1B, H-2B, L-1 or J-1 (or dependent family members) status since they do not require a visa in order to enter the U.S. in nonimmigrant status, this has not yet been confirmed. Therefore, we recommend against international travel for Canadian citizen in nonimmigrant status under one of the categories listed (H-1B, H-2B, L-1, J-1, and their dependent family members).
We strongly recommend that individuals in any of the nonimmigrant categories listed in the Proclamation avoid international travel at this time, especially if they do not have a valid visa stamp in their passport for reentry into the U.S., until at least December 31, 2020. In addition, the suspension of routine immigrant and nonimmigrant visa processing at U.S. Consulates worldwide due to the COVID-19 pandemic is still in place. We recommend that you contact an immigration attorney at Ryan Swanson to determine whether you may be eligible for expedited visa processing due to extraordinary circumstances.
The Proclamation also requests that the Department of Labor and Department of Homeland Security issue regulations or take additional actions to ensure that those who have already been admitted, or are seeking admission, on an EB-2 immigrant visa, EB-3 immigrant visa, or H-1B nonimmigrant visa do not limit opportunity for U.S. workers. In addition, the order directs these agencies to consider issuing regulations or other actions concerning the allocation of visas and ensuring that the presence of H-1B workers in the U.S. does not negatively affect U.S. workers. This would likely include prioritizing the highest paid H-1B workers in the annual numerical cap or quota. Finally, the Proclamation directs these agencies to ensure that an individual will not be able to apply for a visa or admission to the United States until they have completed biometrics, including photographs, signatures, and fingerprints.
In light of these additional provisions, current employers of employees in H-1B or H-2B status or who have filed a PERM application on behalf of an employee should be aware of the potential increase in site visits.
The Immigration Group at Ryan Swanson is closely monitoring the impact of COVID-19 on U.S. immigration and international travel and will be sure to post updates when available. Please contact an immigration attorney at Ryan Swanson if you have any questions.
Amy Royalty can be reached at [email protected]
Marsha Mavunkel can be reached at [email protected].
Jen Chen can be reached at [email protected].
Janet Cheetham can be reached at [email protected].
Cody Nunn can be reached at [email protected].
Joel Paget can be reached at [email protected].
This message has been released by the Immigration Group at Ryan, Swanson & Cleveland, PLLC to advise of recent developments in the law. Because each situation is different, this information is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended to provide legal advice on any specific facts and circumstances. Ryan, Swanson & Cleveland, PLLC is a full-service law firm located in Seattle, Washington.