Immediate Immigration Changes in the COVID Era - Presidential Proclamation

On April 23, 2020, President Trump issued a proclamation that suspends and limits entry into the United States of aliens as immigrants. The proclamation is in effect for 60 days from its effective date, but may be continued if necessary.

This Proclamation has understandably created a lot of confusion and concern, and rightfully so. In response to many requests from our clients, this is what we know so far about the new Immigration Executive order:

The current Proclamation will ONLY affect the individuals who are outside the United States as of April 23, 2020 and applying for immigrant visa (green card) through the U.S. Consulates. The entry into the United States of such individuals will be suspended by 60 days.

The following individuals (even if outside of the US and applying for immigrant visa at the US consulate) will be exempt from the rule:

  1. Spouses of a United States citizens.

  2. Children of a United States under 21 years old.

  3. Physician, nurses, or other healthcare professionals, coming to the U.S. to perform medical services or research intended to combat the spread of COVID-19 (including their spouses and children under 21).

  4. EB-5 Immigrant Investors.

  5. Aliens whose entry would further important United States law enforcement objectives.

  6. Members of the United States Armed Forces (including their spouses and children under 21).

  7. Aliens seeking to enter the United States pursuant to a Special Immigrant Visa in the SI or SQ classification, subject to such conditions as the Secretary of State may impose.

  8. Aliens whose entry would be in the national interest, as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their respective designees.

This rule does not apply to adjustment of status or change of status applicants in the U.S., as well as individuals applying for asylum, withholding of removal, or protection under the Convention Against Torture status.

So far, the order does not specifically target employment-based immigration. However, it contains the following language which makes me wonder about immediate future of the non- immigrant employment-based visa programs:

“Additional Measures. Within 30 days of the effective date of this proclamation, the

Secretary of Labor and the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State, shall review nonimmigrant programs and shall recommend to me other measures appropriate to stimulate the United States economy and ensure the prioritization, hiring, and employment of United States workers.”

Given how quickly changes are occurring int he area of immigration during the COVID pandemic, it is critical that those that have an application pending, or are planning to file an immigration or non-immigration based application, get in touch with their legal team immediately to ensure proper planning.

If you need assistance, or have questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us at 216-716-7850.

#immigration #executiveorder #covid19

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