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President Trump Extends Proclamation to Suspend New Visa Entries

On 31 December 2020 President Donald Trump issued a Presidential Proclamation effectively extending the administration’s visa entry bans until 31 March 2021.

President Donald Trump issued a Presidential Proclamation on 31 December 2020 to extend the visa entry bans of certain immigrants and nonimmigrants to the United States until 31 March 2021. The proclamation extends Proclamation 10014 and Proclamation 10052 that suspend the entry of certain immigrant and H-1B, L-1, J-1 and H-2B nonimmigrants, significantly impacting the ability of the workforce mobility industry to move employees, workers and visitors into the United States.

What are President Trump’s Presidential Proclamations on Immigrant and Nonimmigrant Visas?

In the spring of 2020, President Trump released the first proclamation temporarily suspending immigrant visas for a 60-day period. The suspension applied to foreign nationals residing outside of the U.S. who did not have an immigrant visa or other official travel document, but did not apply to foreign nationals in the U.S. or those individuals applying for non-immigrant visas (e.g. H-1B, L-1, TN).

When the initial proclamation expired in June, Trump released a proclamation that extended and expanded upon the initial executive order to suspend the entry of new H-1B, L-1, J-1 and H-2B nonimmigrants and their spouses and children, with limited exceptions. This was followed by exemption criteria released by U.S. Department of State in August, as well as legal challenges.

Worldwide ERC® Public Policy Actions to Limit the Visa Bans’ Impact

In advance of and in response to these proclamations Worldwide ERC® sent a letter to President Trump, signed onto a stakeholder letter to President Trump and filed separate amicus briefs to limit the impact of these proclamations on the workforce mobility industry.

What is the status of Trump’s Presidential Proclamations Visa Bans?

With the entry bans set to last until 31 December 2020, the newest Proclamation further extends them until 31 March 2021. According to analysis by Forbes, it is likely that the incoming Biden administration will withdraw these proclamations once Joe Biden takes office on 20 January. Biden will not have to go through the regulatory process to rescind the policies, which can be done without the need for review or comment. While Biden can quickly withdraw the proclamations, it is by no means guaranteed and if it should happen will likely be slowed from nearly a year of backlogs and delays.

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How This Impacts Mobility

The initial proclamation and its subsequent extensions have made it more difficult for employers to process new visas for their mobile workforce while complicating the planning of companies looking to relocate and transfer talent to the U.S. Despite the complications, the prospect of a Biden-Harris administration possibly undoing the proclamations and moving toward policies that support a mobile workforce is a positive development. Worldwide ERC® will be working with the administration and the new U.S. Congress to support a mobile workforce. We will continue to provide updates, and should any member have questions, please reach out to our Vice President of Member Engagement and Public Policy Rebecca Peters, rpeters@worldwideerc.org.

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