President Trump’s Proclamation Suspending Entry of Nonimmigrants

On June 22, 2020, the Trump Administration published a Presidential Proclamation designed to address the overall unemployment rate in the United States by limiting the entry of temporary workers in certain nonimmigrant categories.  The Proclamation extended an earlier Proclamation of April 22, 2020 that prohibited entry of approved permanent residents in employment-based categories. Both Proclamations will expire on December 31, 2020 unless extended.

The new Proclamation limits entry of any nonimmigrant without a valid visa as of June 22, 2020 in these categories:

  1. H-1B Specialty Occupation Workers.
  2. H-2B Temporary Nonagricultural Workers.
  3. J Exchange Visitors in these categories: Interns, Trainees, Teachers, Camp Counselors, Au Pairs, or summer work travel program participants.
  4. L Intra-company Transferees.

The Proclamation does not apply to individuals present in the United States or to individuals outside the US who have valid nonimmigrant visas on the effective date of the Proclamation. The Proclamation restricts entry of spouses and children of nonimmigrants in the affected categories even if their parent or spouse (the principal nonimmigrant) was present in the United States on the date of the Proclamation.

Although many individuals who seek permanent or nonimmigrant working status in the US are exempt from the Proclamation because they are in the US or have valid visas, the Proclamation severely limits an employer’s ability to hire a foreign national outside the US, including those with cases pre-approved by the Department of Homeland Security.  The Proclamation will have a significant impact on employers who rely on J-1 exchange visitors for summer work, multi-national companies that require transfer of executives, managerial or specialized knowledge workers from abroad and companies that employee H-2B unskilled and semi-skilled workers for shortage occupations and have approvals from the U.S. Department of Labor confirming the shortage.

Employers in the US can still apply for new employees in the US working for another employer or for extensions of status or a change of status from another category for current employees in the US.  Advice from US Customs and Border Protection states that Canadians are not subject to the Proclamation because they are exempt from US Visa requirements.

The new Proclamation is likely to be challenged in Court and may suspended by Court action.

We will continue to provide updates on the new Proclamation. In the interim, if you have questions or need immediate legal assistance, please contact Joel Pfeffer at jp@muslaw.com, Elaina Smiley at es@muslaw.com, or Gary Sanderson at gms@muslaw.com.

This material is for informational purposes only.  It is not and should not be solely relied on as legal advice in dealing with any specific situation.