On April 21st, President Trump tweeted that he would suspend all immigration into the United States. This caused waves of panic for those who are thinking of starting or are some way through their US immigration process. The tweet left so much room for interpretation that many with temporary nonimmigrant visas were also worried.
On April 22nd the Presidential Proclamation Suspending Entry of Immigrants Who Present Risk to the U.S. Labor Market During the Economic Recovery Following the COVID-19 Outbreak was signed with an effective start date of April 23rd at 11:59pm Eastern Daylight Time.
Why is this being implemented?
According to President Trump, this Proclamation was signed for two reasons: 1) to stop the flow of foreign labor in the form of Legal Permanent Residents (Green Card holders) from stealing jobs from the domestic labor force and 2) to reduce pressure of the Consular Services of the State Department at US Embassies and Consulates abroad.
The Proclamation states that once someone is given a Green Card they are able to take pretty much any job in the US labor market. This proclamation is meant to provide protection for ‘disadvantaged and unemployed Americans from the threat of competition’ particularly as this has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 crisis.
Who does it affect?
This proclamation suspends the entry of those who wish to immigrate permanently to the United States and only applies to the following people:
- Those who are outside the United States at the moment the Proclamation comes into force; and
- Who do not have an Immigrant Visa or any other valid travel document.
Who does it not apply to?
This Proclamation does not cover anyone who does not wish to immigrate to the United States permanently. Anyone with temporary nonimmigrant visas are unaffected by this. There are also many exceptions. The most common exceptions include:
- Those who already have a Green Card (Legal Permanent Residents);
- Anyone wishing to enter the United States to combat the spread of COVID-19 such as nurses, healthcare professionals and medical researchers;
- Those who are making use of the EB-5 program;
- The spouse and children of US citizens (including prospective adoptees);
- Any member of the US armed forces, their spouse and children;
- Those who would further important US law enforcement objectives;
- Certain categories of Special Immigrants; and
- Those who it would be in the National Interest to admit.
What will happen in the future?
While we don’t know exactly what will happen in the future there are two things this Proclamation forces us to keep in mind. While these measures are set to expire 60 days after coming into effect, it is possible for them to be modified or continued at any point no later than 50 days from when they begin.
Perhaps more worryingly, it is said that within 30 days of coming into force the Secretary of Labor and Secretary of Homeland Security will review and recommend additional measures which could affect nonimmigrant visa programs.
While not as far reaching as the initial tweet might have implied, these are another layer of restriction on those who the affect. In practice, with regular visa processing suspended currently, it does not make a large practical difference to the majority of applicants.
There will be more measures to come which will affect a wider group of people than the current measures do. Anyone wishing to go to the United States for any reason must keep in mind that the rules are constantly changing as long as the COVID-19 crisis continues.
If you would like further information on how the COVID-19 crisis may affect your visa or immigration to the United States feel free to contact us at George@bluelakelaw.com
George Lake is the founder of US Immigration law firm Blue Lake Law. He helps people with extraordinary ability move to the United States to perform. He also helps individuals be with their family or to move for work and can also help when their criminal history is holding them back from their American Dream.