On March 31st 2020 – The US Department of State put out a Global Level 4 Health Advisory – Do Not Travel. The first travel ban was put in place on April 22, 2020, under the Presidential proclamations INA 212(f) and 215 «Proclamation Suspending Entry of Immigrants Who Present Risk to the U.S. Labor Market During the Economic Recovery Following the COVID-19 Outbreak.” All travelers were recommended to register for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive travel updates.
This was initially put in place in order to counter the high unemployment Americans are facing due to the outbreak of Covid-19. This first ban is due to expire on June 23rd 2020 but it is believed that it will be extended further. This has caused many to have to realign their plans of moving to the US and has created widespread panic within the immigration world.
On the 5th of June 2020, it seems the White House, Department of Labor, and Department of Homeland Security held a meeting to discuss an expansion on the travel ban to include other non-immigrant visas. It seems they have come to an agreement that would greatly impact merit-based immigration into the United States. This new order is to come into effect by the end of June 2020 and to last as long as 90 to 180 days.
Due to the drastic changes that this new ban will cause, it seemed important for us at D. Sklar Law Offices to offer this update prior to the actual changes. Please keep in mind that all of this information is still subjective and is subject to change if a Presidential Proclamation is issued.
The visas that will be affected in this new temporary ban and prevent entry to these visa holders are the H-1B, H-2B, L-1, and J-1 for a temporary period. There may be further impacts such as on:
- The FY 2021 H-1B cap-subject cases with October 1, 2020, start dates.
- There are discussions that L-1A visa (intracompany transferee executives and managers) categories may be exempt but no clear consensus on the subject.
- In regard to J-1 subcategories, it will likely impact the Summer Work Travel (SWT) program, camp counselor, intern, and trainee programs. It is possible that J-1 physicians and research scholars may not be impacted by the proclamation.
The proclamation should exempt certain workers from the ban for those entering for COVID-19 related reasons, such as health care workers. It would also exempt Food supply, related workers.
It is to note that proclamation 212 applied to individuals entering the United States, not necessarily to those who are already in the country. Therefore, it is important to take this into consideration when planning any trips abroad.
If this new Executive Order is implemented, the changes will greatly affect the U.S. Workforce that depends on non-immigrant visas, and the companies that employ them. Though the ban is ideally to help the economy and the American people, it may further impact employers who are struggling to get back into business after the COVID-19 economic shutdown.
In such an unprecedented time, we recommend that if you are in the United States, not to travel abroad if your immigration status is still in process. It is possible that any proclamation may only impact those that are outside the United States. If you are outside the United States, you may not be able to return during the designated period.
Sklar Law Offices will closely monitor the situation and provide you with further updates.
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