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Executive Order Temporarily Suspends U.S. Immigration Executive Order Temporarily Suspends U.S. Immigration

Executive Order Temporarily Suspends U.S. Immigration

In response to unprecedented unemployment as a result of COVID-19, the President signed a Proclamation Suspending Entry of Immigrants Who Present Risk to the U.S. Labor Market During the Economic Recovery Following the COVID-19 Outbreak. Beginning April 24, 2020, the entry of foreign nationals into the U.S. as “immigrants” is suspended for the next sixty (60) days and could be continued as deemed necessary. “Immigrants” are limited to those seeking admission on an immigrant visa (for permanent residence) and does not include nonimmigrant (temporary) visa holders. However, the Order also calls on the Secretaries of Labor, Homeland Security and State, within the next thirty (30) days, to review nonimmigrant programs and recommend “other measures appropriate to stimulate the United States economy and ensure prioritization, hiring, and employment of United States workers.” This could lead agencies to explore formal and informal policy changes across the spectrum of nonimmigrant visa categories (H-1B, E, L, O, R, TN, etc.), as well as PERM labor certification and other processes leading up to adjustment of status to permanent residency within the U.S. Any significant changes to policy would require a public notice and comment period prior to implementation and, of course, changes to federal immigration law would require Congressional action. In the interim, employers should anticipate an uptick in compliance auditing and issuance of more Requests for Evidence questioning the impact of various immigration filings on the American workforce.

The President’s Order is intended to “prioritize Americans and the existing immigrant population” and to address the “excess labor supply” caused by the economic fallout from COVID-19, with particular interest in protecting “historically disadvantaged groups, including African Americans and other minorities, those without a college degree, and the disabled.” Specifically, the Order applies only to those outside the U.S. who are not already in possession of a valid immigrant visa or official travel document, such as advance parole. The Order does NOT apply to any lawful permanent residents (those already in possession of green cards), COVID-19 related health care workers, researchers and their families seeking admission on immigrant visas, EB-5 investors, spouses and children of U.S. citizens, members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families, certain Iraqi and Afghan special immigrants and others deemed to be in the national interest. The immediate impact of the Order is expected to be of relatively limited as long as U.S. Embassies and Consulates remain closed for nearly all visa services. These global closures and the President’s Order will likely exacerbate existing backlogs and delays in visa processing abroad.

If you have questions regarding the President’s Executive Order or any other business immigration needs, please contact Jenifer Brown or Christl Glier.

This publication is intended for general information purposes only and does not and is not intended to constitute legal advice. The reader should consult with legal counsel to determine how laws or decisions discussed herein apply to the reader’s specific circumstances.
 
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