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President Trump Issues Proclamation Temporarily Suspending Immigrant Visas

President Trump followed through on his announcement that he would suspend immigration to the U.S. The 60-day suspension begins tonight at midnight (eastern).

Last night, U.S. President Donald Trump issued a proclamation suspending immigration to the U.S. for certain foreign nationals applying for immigrant visas. The suspension is scheduled to last for 60 days and takes effect at 11:59 pm (eastern) today.

The temporary suspension applies to foreign nationals residing outside of the U.S. and who do not have an immigrant visa or other official travel document valid as of just before midnight tonight (eastern). Pending immigrant visa applications will not be approved during the suspension. The suspension does not apply to foreign nationals in the U.S. or those individuals applying for non-immigrant visas (e.g. H-1B, L-1, TN).

The Proclamation includes a number of exemptions for individuals applying for an immigrant visa which are as follows:

  • Spouses and children under the age of 21 or prospective adoptees of U.S. citizens;
  • Members, and their spouses and children under the age of 21, of the U.S. Armed Forces;
  • Healthcare professionals, and their spouses and children under the age of 21, entering the U.S. to provide medical care or perform research related to COVID-19;
  • Individuals, and their spouses and children under the age of 21, under a Special Immigrant Visa in the SI or SQ classification;
  • Individuals who would benefit U.S. law enforcement activities or the U.S. national interest; and,
  • Investors applying for the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program

The Proclamation also directs the Secretaries of Homeland Security and Labor, in consultation with the Secretary of State, to review nonimmigrant visa programs. Within 30 days, the Secretaries must report to the President on nonimmigrant programs and “other measures appropriate to simulate the United States economy and ensure the prioritization, hiring, and employment of United States workers.”

In the Proclamation, President Trump cited the high unemployment rate in the U.S. due to the restrictions necessary to contain the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the strain of virus on the U.S. healthcare system as the rationale for the temporary immigration suspension. The President has left the door open to extending the suspension beyond 60 days.

On the evening of 20 April, President Trump tweeted that he intended to issue such an executive action to temporarily restrict immigration to the U.S. but did not provide details.

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How This Impacts Mobility

The Proclamation is unlikely to have much effect in the short-term on the relocation of employees to the U.S. Non-immigrant applicants are exempt and most companies have already voluntarily suspensed the relocation of all but employees essential to activities during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Also, U.S. Consulates abroad are not currently processing applications and there are travel restrictions in place around the globe. However, the potential of an extension of the suspension will complicate planning for companies looking to relocate employees to the U.S. once travel and societal interaction restrictions are gradually lifted. For more information, contact Tristan North.

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