A Proclamation – Proclamation Suspending Entry of Immigrants Who Present Risk to the U.S. Labor Market During the Economic Recovery Following the COVID-19 Outbreak – issued by the White House on April 22 has temporarily suspended the entry of immigrants into the US.
The proposal by President Trump for restricting immigration for protecting the jobs of Americans impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic has led to much confusion among those awaiting the grant of student visa for the US, work visa for the US, or US green card.
As per USCIS data for November 2019, there were around 600,000 H-1B visa holders in the US. In terms of green card backlogs, while employer-sponsored green card backlog was 780,000, there were another 227,000 in line for family-sponsored green cards.
In addition, approximately 2,50,000 students were in the US on F-1 visas.
According to various immigration experts, while the immigration ban will restrict the entry of immigrants into the US, those already in the US will not be affected.
Speculation is rife as to the impact of the temporary immigration ban on H-1B visas. Many experts believe that the H-1B visa, being a non-immigrant visa, might not necessarily come under its purview.
No impact is expected on the existing workforce in the US.
There are certain exemptions to the suspension of entry of immigrants into the US. As per Section 2(b)(iii) of the Proclamation, the “suspension and limitation on entry” will not be applicable to “any alien applying for a visa to enter the United States pursuant to the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program”.
The proclamation will expire 60 days from the effective date. The suspension of entry of immigrations into the US “may be continued as necessary”. The decision to continue or modify the Proclamation will be taken “whenever appropriate, but no later than 50 days from the effective date of this proclamation”.
The Proclamation is effective at 11:59 pm EDT on April 23, 2020.
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