US President's executive order restricts number of non-immigrant visa types

When does the US immigration proclamation go into effect - and who is impacted by the latest visa changes? Plus coverage of other recent US immigration changes.

An immigration official stamps a passport
As anticipated, on June 22, 2020, President Trump signed an Executive Order further restricting immigration into the United States. The proclamation is an extension of the previous proclamation issued on April 22, 2020 that suspends certain green card applications and limits highly-skilled workers and several non-immigrant visa categories.

When Does the Proclamation Go into Effect and End?

The proclamation is effective June 24, 2020 and expires on December 31, 2020. The proclamation may be modified during this period as deemed necessary.

Who is impacted by the latest US visa changes?

Foreign nationals outside the United States seeking to enter for the purposes of obtaining an H-1B visa, H-2B visa, L visa or certain categories of the J visa are barred from entering. Additionally, obtaining visas for accompanying dependents of these visa types, such as H-4 or L-2 visa is also barred.

Exceptions to the suspension

The ban applies to anyone outside the US and does not impact anyone inside the U.S. Foreign nationals inside the U.S. may continue to apply for extensions of their currently valid visa status while inside the U.S.For those outside the United States, the following categories are exempt from restrictions in the proclamation:
  • Foreign nationals outside the United States with a valid nonimmigrant visa issued on or before June 24, 2020
  • Foreign nationals outside the United States who possess Advance Parole or Travel Document granting advanced permission to enter the U.S.
  • Lawful permanent residents of the United States
  • Aliens who are the spouses or children of U.S. citizens
  • Aliens seeking to enter the U.S. to provide temporary labor or services that are essential to the U.S. food supply chain
Exceptions also apply for workers whose services are deemed critical for the health, safety, and wellbeing of the American public or a national interest. Some foreign nationals may be eligible to seek a waiver.

Department of Labor (DOL) to Issue PERM Labor Certifications Electronically Through September 30

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, the DOL will continue issuing PERM labor certifications electronically through September.In response to the Covid-19 National Emergency, the DOL’s Office of Foreign Labor Certification began emailing PERM labor certifications electronically in March 2020. Initially, the agency planned to issue electronic PERM labor certifications through June 30, 2020. However, it will now issue certifications electronically through September 30, 2020.While the precautions remain in place, employers will receive certified PERM labor certifications through email rather than regular mail. Employers should add the email address for the DOL National Processing Center to their email address book to ensure they receive a PERM labor certificate electronically.Provided it has the employer’s mandatory signature, USCIS will consider an electronic PERM certification to be evidence of an “original labor certification” for filing a Form I-140 petition. 

USCIS to use Final Action Dates in July 2020 Visa Bulletin

In July, USCIS will only accept employment-based adjustment-of-status applications using the Final Action Dates chart.This month, all employment-based applicants must use the Final Action Dates chart to determine their eligibility for filing an adjustment-of-status petition with USCIS. Applicants may only file adjustment-of-status applications if their priority dates are earlier than dates listed in the Final Action Dates chart.July is the fourth time in 2020 that USCIS is using the Final Action Dates chart for employment-based adjustment-of-status applications. All employment-based applications will use the Final Action Dates chart in July. Most family-based applications will use the Final Action Dates chart too, except for a few select categories such as F2A.This information was provided by Pearl Immigration, which has created an FAQ with additional information and guidance in regard to the order

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