Joseph Nunziata

Important Executive Order affecting non-immigration visas

On June 22, 2020, President Trump issued an Executive Order. The Order suspends the entry of foreign nationals that are seeking employment based non-immigration visas. It took effect on June 24, 2020 and will remain in effect until the end of the year. For those who are currently going through the immigration process or for those who are planning to in the future, take the time to understand what this Executive Order means for you and your family.

What is an Executive Order?

An Executive order is a means of issuing a published directive from the President. As the President manages the operations of the federal government, they may issue Executive Orders as they please. They are granted this power by the Constitution, which gives them broad executive power to enforce the laws of the United States. However, their Executive orders are subject to judicial review by the Supreme Court of the United States. In simpler words, presidents cannot just issue executive orders without first receiving approval from the Supreme Court.

Most presidents use Executive Orders frequently while others utilize them sparingly.  or example, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued 3728 Executive Orders in his twelve years as President. On the contrary, President George Washington only issued 8 Executive Orders in his eight years as President. For our purposes in this article, we will focus on President Trump and the Executive Order he issued on June 22, 2020.

What is the purpose of this Executive Order?

This Executive Order finds the status of our labor market in a unique circumstance. As we battle the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of Americans are out of work. Unemployment rates have skyrocketed to an all time high. Businesses have had to adapt to the pandemic by eliminating a myriad of jobs, while even, in some circumstances, having to shut down completely.

So what does all that have to do with non-immigration work visas? To keep it simple, the Executive Order is prohibiting certain foreign nationals from entering the United States for work-related purposes. This is because the purpose of the Executive Order is to preserve all open jobs for American citizens and prohibit foreign workers from competing with them for those jobs. American workers compete against foreign nationals for almost every job in almost every sector offered in the United States. American workers also compete with the children of foreign nationals who come to the United States for temporary work. Thus, the Executive Order deems foreign nationals seeking temporary employment as threats to the employment of American workers. This threat, in the eyes of the government, is especially heightened during this pandemic that has cost millions of Americans their jobs.

What visas are affected?

The Executive Order has suspended the issuance of the following four non-immigration visas:

1. H-1B visa
a. This visa permits US employers to temporarily employ foreign workers in specialty occupations. Types of employers that host foreign workers on H-1B visas range anywhere from teachers to therapists to even engineers.

2. H-2B visa
a. This visa is for those who are seeking non-agricultural labor positions in the US. This visa will be on a limited temporary basis that could either last as short as a one day employment to as long as a seasonal employment.

3. J visa
a. This visa is developed and created for work travel programs for cultural or educational purposes. Such programs are held for interns, trainees, teachers, or even camp counselors.

4. L visa
a. This visa is to be held by those seeking temporary employment in the US based on a company that they work for that has offices in the US and abroad.

Who is affected?

The Executive Order only applies to select groups of people. The more obvious group of people that are included under this order is those who are outside of the United States and did not have a non-immigration visa as recently as June 24, 2020.

Therefore, if you are outside of the United States as you are reading this, yet you have a non-immigration visa, you should not fall under the rule of this Order. In addition, even if you are currently outside of the United States and do not have a non-immigration visa, there is still an opportunity for you to navigate to the US and seek temporary employment. However, this opportunity is only limited to those whose work is essential to the US food supply chain. Furthermore, those who have a national interest exemption will also be permitted entry. National interest exemptions apply to those who are critical to national defense, law enforcement, national security, medical care, medical research, and economic recovery.

If you believe you may be eligible to enter the United States under one of these
exemptions, contact us, JustLaw, and seek further information to determine if your
suspicions are correct.

* * * * * *

Immigration law is one of the most important practice areas that JustLaw takes pride in serving. We encourage all those who have immigration issues to reach out to us for any and all help.

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