On April 22, 2020, President Trump signed a proclamation refusing entry to foreign nationals seeking to enter the U.S. as immigrants after 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on April 23, 2020.  The ban lasts for an initial period of 60 days.

Who will it impact?

Individuals who:

  1. are outside the United States on 4/23/2020;
  2. do not have an immigrant visa that is valid on the effective date of this proclamation; and
  3. do not have an official travel document other than a visa (such as a transportation letter, an appropriate boarding foil, or an advance parole document) that is valid on the effective date of this proclamation or issued on any date thereafter that permits him or her to travel to the United States and seek entry or admission.

Given the fact that all U.S. Embassies and Consulates are not currently open to the public for visa interviews, it is difficult to imagine that this proclamation has any real immediate effect.  Anyone who could get an immigrant visa has already gotten an immigrant visa.  Therefore, this proclamation essentially extends the status quo for at least 60 days.

What exceptions are there?

The ban will not impact:

  1. U.S. citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs or Green Card holders) and spouses and minor children under 21.
  2. People coming temporarily on work visas.
  3. People applying for green cards in the United States through the adjustment of status process.
  4. People already in the U.S. on the effective date, and also those who already have a valid immigrant visa on the effective date.
  5. People seeking to enter the United States on an immigrant visa as a physician, nurse, or other healthcare professional; to perform medical research or other research intended to combat the spread of COVID-19; or to perform work essential to combating, recovering from, or otherwise alleviating the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak, as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their respective designees;  and any spouse and unmarried children under 21 years old of any such alien who are accompanying or following to join the alien, and
  6. People applying for a visa to enter the United States pursuant to the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program.
  7. Members of the U.S. Armed Forces and spouse and children.
  8. People whose entry would be in the national interest or certain special immigrant visas.

More to come?

The proclamation says that within 30 days the Secretaries of Homeland Security, Labor and State should report on what limits to place on nonimmigrants.

If President Trump wants to energize his base further and poke the bee hive again, look for another threat of imminent action restricting temporary workers.  Hopefully President Trump’s handlers will, once again, pull him back from the brink of creating chaos and dysfunction in the nonimmigrant workforce.

Stay tuned.