In a sweeping attempt to curb legal immigration, the Trump administration issued a proclamation on June 22, 2020, applying a ban through the end of the calendar year on four visa categories of significance to US companies: the H-1B visa for specialty occupation professionals, the L-1 visa for intracompany executives and managers, the H-2B visa for non-agricultural guest workers, and the J-1 visa for nonimmigrants that participate in intern, trainee, teacher, camp counselor, au pair, or summer work travel programs that form part of cultural exchange visitor programs, and the spouse and minor children accompanying any of these principal work visa categories. The order also extends the provisions of the President’s April 22, 2020, “Proclamation Suspending Entry of Immigrants Who Present Risk to the U.S. Labor Market During the Economic Recovery Following the COVID-19 Outbreak,” which suspended for 60 days the issuance of new immigrant visas to applicants who are outside the United States. While the order does not affect individuals who are in the United States or already have a visa or travel document on June 24, 2020, when the new provisions take effect, it severely restricts the ability of businesses to address upcoming workforce needs with any degree of certainty. Combined with a mandate for additional investigative, enforcement, and regulatory requirements across work visa categories, the order threatens our country’s future innovation and economic growth, as the business community may be compelled to select offshore options for investment and expansion.
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