Summary of the Administration’s June 22, 2020 “Proclamation Suspending Entry of Aliens Who Present a Risk to the U.S. Labor Market Following the Coronavirus Outbreak”

On Behalf of | Jun 23, 2020 | COVID, Immigration Law

Where can I read the proclamation? The administration has posted the proclamation here.

What categories of nonimmigrant visa are impacted? The affected classifications are as follows:

  • H-1B: specialty occupation workers
  • H-2B: temporary / seasonal workers (not including H-2A agricultural workers)
  • J-1: exchange visitors, including teachers, interns, trainees, camp counselors, au pairs, and summer work travel program participants
  • L-1A: executive or managerial employees of multinational corporations
  • L-1B: employees of multinational corporations with specialized knowledge
  • Dependents (spouses and children under 21) of all of the above categories.

What categories of individuals are impacted by this proclamation? The proclamation says that people seeking entry into the United States on certain nonimmigrant visas will not be permitted to come into the United States. The proclamation will prevent entry to a person in one of the affected visa categories who:

  • is outside the United States on June 24, 2020 (the effective date of the proclamation);
  • does not have a nonimmigrant visa that is valid on June 24, 2020; and
  • does not have an official travel document other than a visa (such as a transportation letter, an appropriate boarding foil, or an advance parole document) that is valid on the effective date of this proclamation or issued on any date thereafter that permits him or her to travel to the United States and seek entry or admission.

How long will this last? It appears that individuals will be unable to seek visas abroad in these categories through the end of 2020.

Will there be any exceptions to prohibitions on entry for people seeking entry in these categories? Yes, the proclamation does permit certain exceptions, specifically:

  • Applicants seeking to enter the United States to provide temporary labor or services essential to the U.S. food supply chain;
  • Any other applicant whose entry is deemed to be in the “national interest.” The order requires the Department of State and Department of Homeland Security to create criteria for what will be considered in the “national interest,” including those who are: “critical to the defense, law enforcement, diplomacy, or national security of the United States;”
  • “involved with the provision of medical care to individuals who have contracted COVID-19 and are currently hospitalized;”
  • “involved with the provision of medical research at United States facilities to help . . . combat COVID-19;” or
  • “necessary to facilitate immediate and continued economic recovery of the United States.”

It is not yet clear how narrowly these provisions will be interpreted, and legal advice should be sought accordingly.

Are extensions or changes of status for people inside the United States impacted? No. Individuals in the United States who are seeking to change status or extend status in one of the above categories are not impacted.

Are visa-exempt Canadian citizens impacted? By the language of the proclamation, they might not be impacted, but this is not clear yet.

Will people who are currently in the United States in an impacted classification be permitted to travel overseas an obtain a new visa? By the language of the proclamation, there is a possibility that this might be permitted. However, anyone in this situation is strongly encouraged to wait for further guidance to be issued by the relevant agencies.

Are permanent residents affected by this proclamation? No.

Are spouses and children of US citizens affected by this proclamation? No.

Are people seeking green cards affected? This proclamation has to do with individuals seeking nonimmigrant visas from overseas. However, it should be noted that the administration has found that the “considerations” of the April 22, 2020 proclamation remain, and accordingly, the categories of individuals affected by the earlier proclamation will continue to be affected. Individuals who are eligible for adjustment of status (i.e. filing their green card application from within the United States) are not impacted.

What else might happen as a result of this proclamation? The proclamation indicates that various agencies (i.e. the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Labor, and the Department of Homeland Security) should promulgate new rules and regulations. These rules and regulations will ostensibly be for the purpose of reducing transmission and spread of COVID-19 from people who are seeking to come to the United States.

There may also be regulations that will

  • create an impact on the PERM-related employment based green card process;
  • enforce a requirement of registration and biometric collection before a person can enter the US
  • take away employment eligibility for a number of foreign nationals who are currently permitted to obtain employment authorization, such as people with final orders of removal, who are inadmissible or deportable from the United States and people who have been convicted of – or merely arrested for or charged with – a criminal offense in the United States;
  • impact allocation of immigrant visas (permanent residency)
  • “ensur[e] that the presence in the United States of H-1B nonimmigrants does not disadvantage United States workers.”

Already, the American Immigration Lawyers Association has indicated that federal litigation will be pursued. Roth Jackson will post updates on this proclamation and its effect on businesses and workers as soon as it is available.

For more information, contact  Jennifer West at [email protected]