Continued (and Expanded) Suspension of Entry of Certain Foreign Nationals Abroad
Following weeks of speculation and rumor, on June 22, 2020, President Donald Trump signed a Proclamation Suspending Entry of Aliens Who Present a Risk to the U.S. Labor Market Following the Coronavirus Outbreak (the “June Proclamation”) (full text available HERE). The June Proclamation extended the previously announced restrictions to immigrant visas as set forth in Proclamation 10014 of April 2020 (full text available HERE; summary article available HERE) and also expanded restrictions to various nonimmigrant visa categories as summarized below.
- Effective Date: The June Proclamation becomes effective Wednesday, June 24, 2020 at 12:01 a.m. ET (the “Effective Date”)
- Duration: The June Proclamation is scheduled to expire on December 31, 2020, but, similar to Proclamation 10014, contemplates potential adjustments and extensions (as deemed necessary). In addition, the duration of Proclamation 10014 (regarding the previous restrictions to immigrant visas) has been similarly extended through December 31, 2020.
- What the June Proclamation Does: While Proclamation 10014 focused on immigrant visas, the June Proclamation expands various restrictions to a variety of nonimmigrant visa categories that provide foreign nationals with work authorization in the United States under employer sponsorship.
- Pursuant to the June Proclamation, the “entry into the United States” of individuals in the following nonimmigrant visa categories is suspended (absent an applicable exception as set forth below) for the duration of the June Proclamation:
- H-1B or H-2B visas (including dependent family members seeking H-4 nonimmigrant visas)
- J visas (limited to participants in an intern, trainee, teacher, camp counselor, au pair, or summer work travel program as well as any accompanying dependent family members)
- L-1A and L-1B visas (including dependent family members seeking L-2 nonimmigrant visas)
- The suspension and limitation on entry is applicable only to foreign nationals who are:
- Outside of the United States on the Effective Date;
- Do not have a nonimmigrant visa that is valid as of the Effective Date; and
- Do not have an alternative travel document (e.g., advance parole authorization) that is valid as of the Effective Date or later obtained
- Exemptions from the June Proclamation: Similar to Proclamation 10014, the June Proclamation exempts certain individuals from its restrictions as identified below. Notably, the June Proclamation provides that consular officers are vested with the discretion to determine whether nonimmigrant visa applicants satisfy any of the following exceptions.
- Any lawful permanent resident of the United States;
- Spouses and children of United States Citizens;
- Individuals seeking entry into the United States to provide temporary labor or services “essential” to the United States food supply chain; and
- Individuals whose entry would be in the national interest as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their respective designees. (Notably, the June Proclamation provides that standards will be established to determine which individuals will qualify under this exception, noting that the following individuals will likely be included: those critical to defense, those involved with the provision of medical care to individuals affected by COVID-19, those involved with the provision of medical research related to COVID-19, and those deemed necessary to facilitate the immediate and continued economic recovery of the United States.)
- What the June Proclamation Does NOT Do:
- The June Proclamation does not affect individuals who are physically present in the United States as of the Effective Date. As such, requests to extend, change, or adjust status with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will not be affected. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the June Proclamation does indicate that the Secretary of Labor and the Secretary of Homeland Security are to consider promulgating regulations to address individuals seeking benefits pursuant to EB-2 or EB-3 immigrant visas or H-1B nonimmigrant visas so as to ensure there is no disadvantage to United States workers. Any such new regulations could impose additional restrictions on those individuals who are physically in the United States as of the Effective Date.
- The June Proclamation does not affect individuals who have a nonimmigrant visa that is valid as of the Effective Date. As such, individuals with a valid visa as of the Effective Date may still seek entry into the United States even if they were outside of the United States on the Effective Date. Again, any newly promulgated regulations could impose additional restrictions on those individuals who have a nonimmigrant visa that is valid as of the Effective Date.
- The June Proclamation does not affect or otherwise adjust the ever-changing travel restrictions and consular office status issues resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. As such, even individuals who are exempt from the June Proclamation should remain mindful of these ongoing travel issues and considerations.
Koley Jessen will continue to monitor the impact of the June Proclamation / extension of Proclamation 10014 and developments over the coming weeks and months. If you have questions regarding the impact of the Proclamation on a specific situation, please contact one of the immigration specialists with Koley Jessen’s Employment, Labor and Benefits group.