The Presidential Proclamation titled “Proclamation Suspending Entry of Aliens Who Present a Risk to the U.S. Labor Market Following the Coronavirus Outbreak” which was issued yesterday imposes additional restrictions on the entry of certain foreign nationals into the United States, effective immediately
Restrictions on Foreign Workers Outside the U.S. Without Valid Visa Stamps
The additional restrictions will prohibit certain foreign workers who are abroad without a valid visa in their passports from entering the U.S. until December 31, 2020.
While this Proclamation does not prohibit the entry into the U.S. of foreign workers (and dependent family members) who currently have valid visas in their passports, such foreign nationals are still subject to the various “travel bans” due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, it is important to note that the petition and application processes in the U.S. will not be impacted. Applications and petitions for extensions and/or changes of status for H-1B, L-1, J-1 and other eligible non-immigrant visa classifications will be allowed. Family-based green card applications by lawful permanent residents and U.S. citizens within the U.S. also have not been directly impacted by this Proclamation.
What Foreign Workers Are Impacted?
Foreign workers who 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 counsellor, au pair or summer work travel program) (and dependent family members), and L-1 (and dependent family members) with limited exceptions.
The limited exceptions include a foreign national who is the spouse or child of a U.S. citizen; a 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; a foreign worker seeking to enter the U.S. or services essential to the U.S. food supply chain; and any lawful permanent resident of the U.S.
What Foreign Nationals Are Not Impacted?
· Foreign workers (and accompanying dependent family members) who seek admission into the U.S. in visa classifications other than H-1B, H-2B, J-1 and L-1 such as E-1, E-2, E-3, O-1, P, TN (Canadian and Mexican).
· Also not impacted directly by the Presidential Proclamation are J-1 categories including college and university student, physician, professor, research scholar, secondary school student, short-term scholar, and specialist.
· Foreign workers, including those in H-1B, H-2B, J-1 and L-1 status and their dependent family members may still continue to seek extensions of status and/or applications to change status in the U.S. through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
· The filing and processing of Applications to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status have not been impacted by this Proclamation; USCIS may continue to process such applications filed by foreign workers in the U.S.
· While news reports had mentioned a possible impact on foreign workers who have H-4 EAD cards, the H-4 EAD work authorization was not specifically affected by the Proclamation although such H-4 workers without a valid visa will be prohibited from entering the U.S.
Again, it is important to note that such individuals 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 closures of U.S. consular posts.
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