The rest of 2020 will be a difficult year for employers seeking to hire foreign nationals currently located outside the U.S.
President Donald Trump has issued an executive order suspending the use of certain work visas. The order specifically stops the issuance of four types of temporary visas:
- H-1B visas for highly skilled workers
- H-2B visas for non-agricultural guest workers
- J visas for exchange visitors such as interns, trainees, teachers, camp counselors, au pairs or summer exchange workers
- L visas for intracompany transferees, including specialty knowledge workers and multi-national executives and managers
New H-2B visas for workers in the food supply and seafood processing industry will still be issued as well as any visa that specifically facilitates treatment or research for the novel coronavirus.
This order does not cancel current visas nor does it prevent visa renewal for foreign nationals currently in the U.S. Rather, it stops the issuance of new visas and prohibits the entry of foreign nationals utilizing H, L, and J visas while the suspension is in place.
Monday’s executive order also renews the order made April 22, which suspended the entry of individuals attempting to enter the country as legal permanent residents. Individuals currently located within the United States are still permitted to seek a green card through the “adjustment of status” process.
The new order took effect Monday and will remain in place until at least December 31, 2020.
Further changes may be made to this order and other immigration orders in the light of the developing COVID-19 outbreak. The president again has instructed the heads of the departments of Homeland Security, Labor and State to make further recommendations regarding these topics.
With Monday’s new restrictions, employers and employees may want to explore other visa avenues for temporary admission into the United States or adjust plans for a possible later arrival of employees. Employers with workers on H, J and L visas who are currently within the United States should let those employees know that if they travel internationally they likely will not be permitted to reenter the United States for the remainder of the year, perhaps longer.
Businesses or individuals with questions about the executive order should feel free to contact me or one of the attorneys in Barley Snyder’s Immigration Law Group.Barley Snyder summer associate Elizabeth Castillo contributed to this alert. She is a rising second-year law student at the Temple University Beasley School of Law.