Citing competition from foreign nationals during a period of economic contraction due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Trump administration announced on Monday evening, June 22, 2020, that entry to the U.S. will be suspended for all temporary workers seeking admission with H-1B and H-2B visas, J visas and L visas. This suspension will affect employers seeking employment of foreign national healthcare workers, engineers, technicians, IT professionals and all other specialty occupations in addition to international transferees, interns, trainees and researchers.
The suspension will last at least until December 31, 2020 and may be continued longer “as necessary.” Unless modified, the ban will also apply to beneficiaries of this spring’s H-1B visa lottery – a blow to employers anticipating the arrival of temporary specialty workers to commence employment on October 1st of this year.
Reaction from the employment community was swift and vocal. U.S. Chamber of Commerce CEO Thomas Donohue issued the following statement: “Today’s proclamation is a severe and sweeping attempt to restrict legal immigration. Putting up a ‘not welcome’ sign for engineers, executives, IT experts, doctors, nurses and other workers won’t help our country, it will hold us back. Restrictive changes to our nation’s immigration system will push investment and economic activity abroad, slow growth, and reduce job creation.”
The immigration professionals at Stock and Leader will continue to monitor developments regarding the employment based visa ban and immigration issues, generally.