Update June 9, 2020: More attorneys share unverified information about restrictions on work visas in the coming days.
AILA is considering a lawsuit if Trump issues the executive order to block entry of legal work visa workers.
Update June 8, 2020:
Several attorneys including Greg Siskind have warned people that Trump may be declaring a temporary entry ban for H1B, J-1, and L-1 Visa holders.
The unconfirmed date of Trump’s entry ban is June 11 for work-based visas.
If you are currently outside the US, try to return as early as possible if you can. Many people who are waiting for the US embassy to open for their visa stamp may be out of luck here.
This article will discuss:
How Long the Ban will Last?
There is no news available with exact details of the ‘entry ban’ that Trump may sign but it seems that 60 days ban is possible.
Senators Request Entry Ban to Save Jobs
H1B and OPT are the easiest targets in case of any economic downturn as everybody tries to push them to limits.
Here comes a letter from 4 Senators including Chuck Grassley, which is asking Trump to suspend H1B extensions, Transfers, and Amendments for 60 days. To add salt to insult, they are also advocating to skip the entire April 2020-21 lottery year.
Senators request Trump to suspend these visas after the initial 60 days ban is over:
- Suspend H1B Lottery Applications for at-least 1 year.
- Suspend H-2B visa for non-agricultural workers for 1 year.
- Suspend the OPT (Optional Training program) for 1 year.
- Stop EB-5 Green cards effective immediately.
The senators are trying to join the bandwagon with Trump’s Green card ban that did not receive any major opposition in the background of Coronavirus emergency. This request seems to be motivated by UStech Workers’ letter that was sent to Trump on April 20.
Ban New H1B visa Issuance for 60 Days?
Senators have emphasized with existing H1B holders who are currently in the US and have only asked to stop new H1B visa issuance for the next 60 days to help people who have been laid off.
They have accepted the fact these people need not compete with new H1B workers who are still outside the US within the H1B 60 day grace period allowed by USCIS.
This means that existing H1B extensions, transfers, and amendments for people physically in the US should not be affected. People outside the US may be affected if Trump decides to write his executive order based on these suggestions.
#1 Is it possible? Will trump Suspend H1B program?
Anything is possible given the current unemployment and Coronavirus situation. The chances of stopping the H1B program completely for 60 days are low though as big businesses depend on it.
Senators have asked for exceptions for Doctors and Nurses along with other high skilled H1B workers who are already in the US. So, they are safe. They might also get benefitted from this COVID-19 if they get an expedited Green card.
There is no explicit mention of the L1 visa but they have repeatedly asked for a nonimmigrant visa. So, they may be affected too.
#2 Should I be worried If I am outside US waiting for US embassy to Open?
I have started to feel that something is cooking with respect to an H1B visa in the background and we may hear some kind of suspension soon. The fact that this is an election year and Trump wants to create a pro-economy and pro-American image to win, he may take some action that affects temporary workers.
If you are currently outside the US waiting for your H1B visa interview, you should probably be prepared for it. I am not saying that Trump has declared the ban but there is no smoke without fire.
You need to be mentally and financially prepared to ride through this tough time if it indeed happens.
OPT Student Work Program
Optional Practical training is under a deep threat as these are freshers graduating from college and Senators claim that banning OPT can effectively help American students to get jobs quickly.
The 2019 data shows that more than 223k foreign students used the OPT program for working. These kids will be under immense pressure as most of them take education loans in their home country to study in the US and then pay them off by getting a job within the US.
H-2B & EB-5 Visa Suspension
The consensus seems to be building against anything and everything that comes into the USA from outside.
EB5 program is a business investor program that is intended to generate employment for US citizens and Green cardholders. The green card is given based on strict conditions. The senators are asking to stop this program too.
The H2B program is not safe either. They have the opinion that seasonal and non-agricultural jobs like working in Summer resort and landscaping should be preserved for Americans first.
Other senators are also echoing the same sentiment trying to save American jobs:
Senators Letter to Trump
The 4 senators who requested this suspension are:
- Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas),
- Tom Cotton (R-Ark.),
- Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and
- Josh Hawley (R-Mo.)