On April 22, 2020, President Trump issued a “Proclamation Suspending Entry of Immigrants Who Present Risk to the U.S. Labor Market During the Economic Recovery Following the COVID-19 Outbreak,” to pause issuance of new immigrant visas to applicants who are outside the United States for 60 days. As reported on this blog, although the proclamation is currently limited to aspiring immigrants who are outside the United States and do not yet have a valid immigrant visa, it has the potential to affect other visa categories. Specifically, the proclamation requires the Secretary of Labor (“DOL”) and the Secretary of Homeland Security (“DHS”), in consultation with the Secretary of State, to review nonimmigrant programs within 30 days and to recommend “other measures appropriate to stimulate the United States economy and ensure the prioritization, hiring, and employment of United States workers.” The nonimmigrant measures reportedly under consideration would restrict issuance of new visas in the H-1B, L-1, and H-2B categories as well as the availability of work authorization for foreign students and the spouses of certain H-1B workers who are awaiting the completion of their green card applications. Continue reading at Mayer Brown’s COVID-19 blog.
Additional details have been provided informally by White House sources that the restrictions under consideration may be deemed “permanent” and that additional fees may be imposed on employers electing to use the H-1B Level 4 category, as discussed in the blog. Mayer Brown will provide further details as they become available.