President Donald Trump signed an executive order temporarily halting work visas like the H-1B visa program for highly-skilled workers, cutting off a critical source of foreign labor for tech companies already complaining about tech talent shortages.
Now, the order has been extended until December 31, 2020 and expanded to also suspend the entry of H-1B, and H-4 H-2B, J-1, and L-1 and L-2 visa holders who are currently outside the United States and does not have a nonimmigrant visa that is valid on the effective date of this proclamation.
This Executive Order does not apply to:
- F-1 Students, OPT, STEM OPT
- H-1B/L-1 petitions filed with USCIS
- TN, B-1, E-3, O-1 and other temporary work visa holders
- Cap-subject H-1Bs filed with USCIS
- Any application filed with USCIS
- Student visa applications at a consulate or embassy
In other words, you can continue filing any application with USCIS (including PERM with the Department of Labor) that you intended to file before the executive order.
You will not be able to apply for nonimmigrant visas at consulates or embassies once they re-open to the public.
If you are currently in the US, these additional measures impacting nonimmigrant visa availability should be seriously considered before making any plans for travel outside the US.
Visa-holders already in the U.S. and those applicants who have already received a visa are exempt from the ban. The restrictions are intended to last until the end of the year, which would disrupt the government’s typical process of awarding new visas at the beginning of the national fiscal calendar in October.
Officials from the Trump administration told the Wall Street Journal that the move is intended to protect American jobs, but executives in the technology industry have long warned that visa restrictions would hurt the nation’s ability to compete in industries that have both strategic and financial significance as engines of economic growth.