Who does this Proclamation impact?
The Proclamation will only apply to those individuals in H-1B, H-2B, H-4, J-1, J-2, L-1, and L-2 visa status who are currently outside the United States and do not possess a valid visa stamp for re-entry. Those individuals in H-1B, H-2B, H-4, J-1, J-2, L-1, and L-2 visa status, but who possess valid visa stamps in their passports, will be eligible to re-enter the United States in these visa statuses. The Proclamation additionally does not impact green card holders.
How long will the Proclamation last?
The Proclamation will go into effect at 12:01 am EST, June 24, and will be in effect until December 31, 2020. The Proclamation may be extended “as necessary.”
The Proclamation lists exemptions, what are they?
The Proclamation will exempt green card holders, temporary labor or services essential to the United States food chain, and any person determined to be in the national interest. A person determined to be in the national interest may include persons “who are critical to the defense, law enforcement, diplomacy, or national security of the United States; are involved with the provision of medical care to individuals who have contracted COVID-19 and are currently hospitalized; are involved with the provision of medical research at United States facilities to help the United States combat COVID-19; or are necessary to facilitate the immediate and continued economic recovery of the United States.”
Does the Proclamation impact H-1B, H-2B, H-4, J-1, J-2, L-1, or L-2 visa holders currently in the United States?
No, the Proclamation does not impact this group, and does not impact this group’s ability to extend their visa status with USCIS/DOS, and additionally does not impact H-1B visa holders ability to change employers. As a company, you will continue to be able to extend visas for your current employees and hire H-1B visa holders who are employed with another company.
For H-1B, H-2B, H-4, J-1, J-2, L-1, or L-2 visa holders who do not have valid visa stamps, will they be able to travel internationally from now until December 31, 2020?
These individuals will be able to leave the United States, but will not be able to re-enter the country if they do not possess valid visa stamps or a valid, unexpired Advanced Parole (AP) document. Hence, for these employees, we recommend that they do not travel until January 1, 2021, when the Proclamation has expired. For H-1B, H-2B, H-4, J-1, J-2, L-1, and L-2 visa holders who possess valid visa stamps through January 1, 2021, these individuals can travel internationally and re-enter the United States during the validity period of the Proclamation. EIG recommends limited international travel given the Proclamation is subject to review and change within 30 days and every 60 days thereafter.
For H-1B, H-2B, H-4, J-1, J-2, L-1, or L-2 visa holders with valid, unexpired visa stamps, are there any additional entry requirements under the Proclamation?
The Proclamation references that these individuals will not be admitted “until registered with biographical and biometric information, including but not limited to photographs, signatures, and fingerprints.”
Does the Proclamation apply to Canadian citizens, who don’t require visa stamps?
From the plain language of the Proclamation, it is unclear. As we receive further guidance from CBP, we will notify our clients how the agency is interpreting the Proclamation.
What else can be expected from this administration on immigration?
The Proclamation states that the administration will review the order within 30 days of June 24, 2020, and subsequently every 60 days, making changes as needed. The Proclamation additionally states that the Department of Labor will review individuals “who have been admitted or otherwise provided a benefit, or who are seeking admission or a benefit, pursuant to an EB-2 or EB-3 immigrant visa or an H-1B nonimmigrant visa does not disadvantage United States workers in violation of section 212(a)(5)(A) or (n)(1) of the INA (8 U.S.C. 1182(a)(5)(A) or (n)(1)).”