On Monday, June 22nd 2020, the current President imposed certain restrictions on temporary visas and certain limitations on the entry to the United States.
Which visas will be affected?
- H-1B: Visa for Professional workers
- L-1: Visa for transfer of executives
- H-2B: Visa for temporary non-agricultural workers
- J-1: Visa for exchange visitors
The Administration under President Trump has also made known that they’ve finalized regulations to eliminate the incentive to file an asylum application for the primary purpose of obtaining an Employment Authorization Document.
On this subject, the White House expresses: “With some exceptions, we should not permit large numbers of foreign workers to enter the United States at a time when so many Americans are out of work.”
Although the measures are strict, please be aware that the official statement released by the USCIS confirmed that these limitations DO NOT affect those currently working on valid H1B or similar visas, and that the Presidential proclamation DOES NOT prevent individuals in possession of valid visas prior to the effective date of the proclamation from entering or reentering the country, if they have been abroad, provided they have not otherwise rendered themselves inadmissible.
What is the objective of these measures?
These measures come as an effort by the current administration under President Trump to“ensure businesses look to American workers first when hiring.”
The President stated:
"The measure is to protect the jobs of Americans due to the high unemployment rate caused by the coronavirus pandemic, as well as to boost the economic recovery…
Many workers have been hurt through no fault of their own due to coronavirus and they should not remain on the sidelines while being replaced by new foreign labor.”
How long will these measures be in force?
These measure will be in force until the end of the year: December 31, 2020. The President stated in his proclamation that “\[the measures] shall expire on December 31, 2020, but may be continued as necessary. Within 30 days of June 24, 2020, and every 60 days thereafter while this proclamation is in effect, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Labor, recommend any modifications as may be necessary.”
What will Happen Next?
The Trump Administration is attempting to reform the immigration system to what they have called a Merit-Based Immigration System, which supposedly prioritizes the highest-skilled workers in order to protect American jobs.
Under President Trump’s direction, the Trump Administration is taking action to reform the H-1B immigration program to prioritize those workers who are offered the highest wage, ensuring that the highest-skilled applicants are admitted. The Trump Administration also plans to close what they call “loopholes that have allowed employers in the United States to replace American workers with low-cost foreign labor”.
The purpose behind these changes, according to them, is to help protect the wages of American workers and ensure that foreign labor entering the United States is highly skilled, and does not undercut the United States labor market.