URGENT UPDATE: Trump's Executive Order as of 6/22/20
Based on increasingly confirmed media reports, President Trump is planning on signing an executive order to suspend the issuance of certain temporary worker visas through the end of 2020. We have not seen the text of this order, and will provide a more complete update as soon as we do. But this is what we know/expect right now:
First, and most importantly, the order likely will not apply to foreign workers and immigrants already in the United States. It will likely also exempt foreign workers applying for visas related to jobs in the health and food supply chain, as these are considered essential workers. In addition, individuals “whose entry would be in the national interest” will also be exempt.
It seems likely that the order will apply to H-1B, H-2B, H-4, L-1 and certain J-1 visas. The restrictions look set to stay in effect for the rest of the calendar year and may be extended at the President’s discretion. That will likely mean that issuance of those visas at U.S. Consulates abroad will not be possible for the rest of the calendar year.
Given the current nonessential travel restrictions from various countries in the world including parts of the Middle East, Europe, China, Mexico, Brazil, India, and Canada, along with the current closures of US consulates visa issuance processes abroad, the expanded visa restrictions may not have an actual significant or immediate impact. Unless, of course, the restrictions are extended beyond 2020. As of now, we have no reason to believe they will be.
What does this mean for individuals already in the US? If our current understanding is borne out by the text of the order, then:
1. The order will not affect your current status and your visa will not be revoked simply by virtue of the order.
2. Do not travel abroad until we have a clear understanding of what these restrictions are going to mean to you and your status.
3. Do not let family members travel abroad as they may not be able to reenter the US.
4. Focus on renewing your status while in the US and do not wait to the last minute in hopes you get your visa at the consulate later in the year.
5. Continue to take every measure possible to stay in valid status in the US.
6. Check your I-94 record and ensure you are and will continue to be in valid status.
7. If your I-94 is set to expire, file a renewal at the service center as soon as you are able to and don’t wait assuming you may be able to leave the US and get a new I-94.
We will continue to monitor the situation and update you as soon as formal guidance is provided by the Administration and USCIS. Until then, take a deep breath, remember news media is not all accurate, consult your attorney to receive the proper legal guidance, and know that as long as you are in the US, you are okay.
At Serotte law, we are always available to help you during these tough times. Please reach out with your questions or concerns.