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U.S. State Department Releases Exemption Criteria for Trump’s Immigration Proclamation

The U.S. Department of State released guidance detailing the exemption criteria under President Trumps’ proclamation that suspends certain nonimmigrant workers from entering the United States.

On 12 August, the U.S. Department of State released guidance detailing the exemption criteria under President Trumps’ proclamation that suspends certain nonimmigrant workers from entering the United States. The 22 June proclamation suspended new visa entry applications for H-1B, H-2B, L-1 and certain J-1 cultural exchange visitors, significantly impacting the ability of the workforce mobility industry to move employees and visitors. The State Department’s new guidance will help consulates weigh criteria for waiver applications that exempt certain temporary workers and visitors.

The “national interest exemptions” aim to prioritize those that boosts the U.S. economy. The exemption criteria for H-1B and L-1 specialty occupation, specialized knowledge workers and executives and managers include:

  • Those who are public health and healthcare professionals, including researchers working to alleviate COVID-19’s effects
  • Travel supported by request from a U.S. government agency or entity to meet critical U.S. foreign policy objectives
  • Workers seeking to resume ongoing employment in the same position, employer and visa application
  • Technical specialists and senior management whose travel “is necessary to facilitate the immediate and continued economic recovery of the United States.”

Such criteria arrives after considerable legal challenges to the President’s proclamation. Further guidance from the State Department allows employers to present proof of financial hardship should a request for a new visa be denied, or if the employer can demonstrate that a visa applicant’s education or experience constitute “unusual expertise” in their field.

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How This Impacts Mobility

These new exemption criteria broaden the guidance for those who can enter the United States, in particular for H and L visas, and may open up eligibility for some workers who were previously denied entry to the U.S. under the original proclamation. While there remains strict eligibility requirements for these exemptions, this is one small step towards allowing the global talent workforce to begin to move to the United States, and to enable the workforce mobility industry to support those moves. Should any member have questions regarding the State Department’s guidance, please reach out to Vice President, Member Engagement and Public Policy Rebecca Peters, rpeters@worldwideerc.org.

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