The most recent executive order focuses mostly on individuals seeking to enter the U.S. with temporary employment authorization.

It is unfortunately another scare tactic to intimidate immigrants and employers.  The executive order also scapegoats immigrants for our country’s current problems, which is reminiscent of our country’s darker days.

Instead, we should harness the talents of immigrants to keep Americans healthy and strengthen our economy as we have done during our brightest days. Immigration laws already have robust procedures in place to protect U.S. workers.  We all want Americans back to work, and the best way to do that is to welcome immigrant innovators, job creators, healthcare workers, seasonal workers—rather than to scare them away.

To help these immigrants, we provide responses to the following Frequently Asked Questions.

Which temporary workers are restricted from entering the U.S.?

If you:

  • Are outside the U.S. on June 24, 2020;
  • You do not have a valid nonimmigrant work visa on June 24, 2020; and
  • You do not have an official travel document valid on or after June 24, 2020

You may not enter the U.S. with the following types of nonimmigrant work visas:

  • H-1B, H-2B, or H-4
  • L-1 or L-2
  • J-1 if you are an intern, trainee, teacher, camp counselor, au pair, or part of the summer work travel program (the other J-1 programs are exempt)
  • J-2 (unless the primary J-1 holder is exempt)

Which temporary workers are not affected by the presidential proclamation?

The new proclamation does not apply to the following people:

  • All other temporary work categories not specified above (for example, F-1, TN, B-1, E-3, O-1)
  • All individuals physically present in the U.S. on June 24, 2020
  • All individuals with valid H, J, or L visas on June 24, 2020
  • U.S. Lawful Permanent Residents (green card holders)
  • Spouses and children of U.S. citizens
  • Foreign-nationals seeking to enter the U.S. to provide temporary labor or services essential to the U.S. food supply chain
  • Foreign-nationals whose U.S. entry will benefit U.S. national interests. This exemption can potentially help lots of individuals who can demonstrate they are contributing to the United States’ economic recovery.  This exemption will likely also help the following persons: medical researchers and healthcare workers helping combat COVID-19; children who will lose eligibility for immigration benefits if they reach age 21 before the executive order is lifted; and others.

What about individuals applying for a green card from outside the U.S.?

The new executive order extends the prior proclamation until December 31, 2020.  As a reminder, there are exemptions for spouses and children of U.S. citizens, healthcare workers and their families, EB-5 investors, and other individuals entering the U.S. for law enforcement, armed forces, government, or national interest purposes.

What’s Next?

  • Immigration agencies will announce new policies to implement the executive order. The details of the new policies will directly influence how the executive order will actually impact immigration applications and our subsequent strategy recommendations for clients.  We continue to monitor these changes so we can provide our clients with up-to-date guidance as the new policies are announced.
  • The executive order hints at additional measures the government may take in the future to limit U.S. immigration. Many of these measures must meet lengthy procedural requirements before changes can be implemented.

I am a foreign national applying for H, J, L, or permanent resident status this year—what should I do?

  • If you are in the United States, as usual contact your immigration attorney before making any plans to travel internationally. We can help you assess the risks of international travel and any impact on your immigration strategy.
  • If you are outside the United States and our office is engaged to prepare an application package for you for H, L, J, or permanent resident status, we will contact you to help determine the best immigration strategy for you.