New Executive Order on F, H, L and J Nonimmigrant Categories Expected Soon – June 9, 2020

Posted on: June 9th, 2020
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Siskind Susser sent the following email to clients today:

Siskind Susser has received information from credible sources that President Trump is very close to finalizing an executive order that would bar the entry of L-1, H-1B, H-2B and J-1 non-immigrants for a period of several months. We believe the ban will include numerous exemptions, but it is not clear yet which groups will be exempt. We have heard there may be exemptions for health care workers, workers in food-related industries and where an employer has gone through a competitive recruiting process. We also believe the J-1 provisions will only affect summer workers, camp counselors, trainees and interns and not physicians. The order will likely be issued in the next few days to few weeks. 

This order would not immediately affect people in the US, except that the State Department could revoke visas already stamped in individual passports, which would make it impossible to reenter the US if someone left the country. 

We also believe the Administration is considering additional measures that would require regulatory changes and which would affect people in the US. These include ending the STEM OPT program which allows F-1 students who have degrees in science, technology, engineering and math fields to work an additional two years beyond the standard one-year OPT work period. There could also be a rule to tighten H-1B requirements (such as further restricting the definition of “specialty occupation” and requiring higher wages) and a potentially exorbitant fee of $20,000.

The American Immigration Lawyers Association will be seeking employers willing to participate in a large lawsuit across the US in a variety of industries. If you believe you can show that your industry’s unemployment rate has remained low or that this order may result in the loss of jobs for your US workers as well as your workers on visas, you would likely be a good candidate to participate in the suit. We do not expect plaintiff employers to have to cover the costs of the litigation. Let us know if this interests you.

In the meantime, here are our immediate takeaways – 

  1. You should immediately have all workers in the categories mentioned above return to the US. We do not know when the order would take effect, but given the Administration’s past practices, it would likely be almost immediately after the executive order is issued. 
  2. It is very possible people with pending or approved applications will be unaffected so we recommend filing extension applications, STEM OPT applications and other applications as early as feasible. 
  3. If you think you will be adversely affected and you are willing to reach out to leaders in government, let us know and we will help you with that. 
  4. This would be a good time to contact your Senators, Congressman, Governors and lobbyists to let the White House know this would adversely impact your business which could result in job losses for your US workers.

We will let you know as soon as we get anything more definitive.