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Presidential Proclamation Suspends Entry of New H-1B, H-2B, L, and Certain J Visa Recipients through 2020

on Tuesday, 23 June 2020 in Covid-19 Information Hub

On June 22, 2020, the Trump Administration issued a proclamation that suspends the entry into the United States of foreign nationals on H-1B, H-2B, L, and certain J (interns, trainees, teachers, camp counselors, au pairs, or summer work travel program participants) employment-based nonimmigrant visas along with their dependents.  The June 22nd proclamation also extends the proclamation issued on April 22, 2020, which suspended the entry of certain immigrants into the United States.  The June 22nd proclamation only applies to such individuals if they are:

  • Outside the United States on the effective date of the proclamation;
  • Do not have a nonimmigrant visa valid on the effective date of the proclamation; and
  • Do not have an official travel document other than a visa (transportation letter, boarding foil, or advance parole document), valid on the effective date of the proclamation or issued thereafter permitting the individual to be admitted to the United States.

The proclamation does not apply to:

  • lawful permanent residents;
  • a spouse or child of a U.S. citizen;
  • any individual seeking entry to provide temporary labor essential to the U.S. food supply chain; or
  • any individual whose entry would be in the national interest as determined by the Secretary of State and Secretary of Homeland Security.

The proclamation directs the Secretaries of State, Labor, and Homeland Security to determine standards for those whose entry is in the national interest, including any person:

  • critical to the defense, law enforcement, diplomacy, or national security of the US;
  • 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 U.S. facilities to help the United States combat COVID-19;
  • necessary to facilitate the immediate and continued economic recovery of the United States; or
  • is a child who would age out of eligibility for a visa because of either proclamation.

Consular officers will determine if an individual is exempt from the proclamation.  It also appears that anyone entering the United States in any of the four listed visa statuses (if not everyone) may be required to be tested for COVID-19 before they arrive in the U.S.

The Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretaries of Labor and State, is tasked with determining if there is a need to modify the proclamation within 30 days of its effective date and every 60 days after.  The suspension is effective at 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time on June 24, 2020 and will remain in place until the end of 2020. 

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