Because of COVID-19, the U.S. economy is suffering, and unemployment has skyrocketed. The Trump administration has largely used this crisis as a reason to heavily restrict immigration and make sure Americans are “first in line” for new jobs.
In April, they advanced this goal by passing an executive order that halted the issuance of family-based and employment-based immigrant visas for 60 days. This order was just extended on June 22nd.
Additionally, it has been expanded to include these nonimmigrant visas:
- H-1B visas (for specialty workers and their family members)
- H-2B visas (nonagricultural seasonal workers)
- J-1 visas (exchange students)
- L-1 visas (international corporate managers)
The order is now in effect until December 31, 2020. Fortunately, it only impacts individuals who are currently outside of the United States. Food processing workers (roughly 15% of H-1B visas) are also exempt from the ban, as are certain COVID-19 healthcare workers.
U.S. employers have fiercely criticized the extension. Countless businesses (especially in the tech industry) depend on the world’s top talent to fill critical positions and compete on a global scale. While the Trump administration says this executive order will free up hundreds of thousands of jobs for Americans, U.S. employers typically have trouble finding American workers who are qualified and willing. These businesses say the immigration ban will hinder—rather than encourage—the U.S. economy’s recovery.
In addition to this ban, the DHS recently released a regulation that will make it more difficult for asylum-seekers to obtain employment authorization. The administration has also proposed awarding H-1B visas to those with the highest salaries, rather than by lottery.
While both the asylum regulation and the immigration ban are temporary, many worry they could have permanent consequences on various immigration processes.
Obtain the Support You Need from Our Team
At Kanu & Associates, P.C., our attorneys are dedicated to helping you overcome obstacles in the immigration process. We have more than 15 years of experience, which we use every day to help clients from all around the world to obtain the visas and employment opportunities they need. Whether you are trying to visit the U.S., move here permanently, or become a citizen, we are fully equipped to advance your best interests.