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U.S. Immigration Update: 2020 Proclamation Suspending Entry of Immigrants Who Present Risk to the U.S. Labor Market During the Economic Recovery Following the COVID-19 Outbreak

Client Update / Apr 23, 2020

As you may have heard, yesterday President Trump issued a Proclamation placing new limitations on U.S. immigration, a summary of which is below. While the current proclamation affects only the issuance of immigrant visas (Green Cards) to individuals outside the U.S., with some exceptions, we strongly recommend to proactively file all non-immigrant petitions, extensions, and in-country immigration matters as early as possible to avoid any surprises down the road as the proclamation specifically states the fact that it very well may be extended or modified to include non-immigrant visas both in and outside of the U.S. We suggest the following:

  1. For matters currently in preparation:
    • Please provide counsel with any outstanding information requested at the earliest convenience.
    • If you have been sent documents for signature, please return these to counsel scanned as soon as possible as the Department of Homeland Security now accepts scanned signatures.
  1. For employees in a valid status:
    • Please review the expiry dates of the petitions of all non-immigrant employees. Any petitions expiring within the next 6-8 months can have the extensions process started so that they may be filed on the earliest possible date.
    • Please ask all employees in non-immigrant status to check their latest I-94 entry record: If there are errors, you will need to contact CBP to correct them.

Summary of the April 22, 2020 Proclamation Suspending Entry of Immigrants Who Present Risk to the U.S. Labor Market During the Economic Recovery Following the COVID-19 Outbreak

This proclamation becomes effective as of 11:59PM EST on Thursday 4/23/2020.

It states that entry to the U.S. is suspended for those currently outside the U.S. who don’t have a valid immigrant visa as of the effective date.

The following categories are exempted from the above:

  • Spouses of U.S. citizens;
  • Children of U.S. citizens under the age of 21 and prospective adoptees;
  • Lawful Permanent Residents (Green Card holders);
  • Those individuals, including their dependents, who are seeking to enter the U.S. as a physician, nurse or other healthcare workers to perform medical research to combat the spread of COVID-19, or to perform work essential to combating the same;
  • EB-5 Investor Visa participants;
  • Individuals who further important U.S. law enforcement objectives;
  • Members of the U.S. Armed Forces, and their dependents;
  • Individuals, and their dependents, eligible for Special Immigrant Visas for being a translator in Afghanistan or Iraq, or a U.S. Government Employee; and
  • Individuals whose entry would be in the national interest.

Furthermore, asylum seekers are excluded from this ban.

Additionally, this proclamation requires that, within 30 days of the effective date, that the Secretary of Labor, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State, review the existing nonimmigrant visa programs and recommend measures to stimulate the U.S. economy and guarantee “the prioritization, hiring and employment” of U.S. workers.

This proclamation is set to expire in 60 days after the effective ban but may be continued or modified.

Please contact the Pearl Cohen US Business Immigration Group for any questions in connection with the above-stated.