On April 22, 2020, President Trump announced his “Proclamation Suspending Entry of Immigrants Who Present Risk to the U.S. Labor Market During the Economic Recovery Following the COVID-19 Outbreak.” After days of intense speculation, the scope of the final order is limited to “immigrant visas.” Nonimmigrant visas like H1Bs, Ls, TNs, Os, and Es are not impacted at all.
An “immigrant visa” is a specific term that refers to the type of visa you receive when your green card petition is approved while you are outside of the US, and you need to travel to the US to activate your lawful permanent resident status.
Basically, if you are 1) outside of the US as of 11:59 pm ET on April 23, 2020, and 2) do not already have an immigrant visa in your passport that is valid as of April 23, 2020, you will not be able to obtain your visa or travel to the US to become a lawful permanent resident for at least 60 days.* (If the order is going to be extended beyond 60 days, the White House will make an announcement no later than June 12, 2020.
Perhaps more concerning than the order itself is a clause hidden near the end, which notes that the President will review nonimmigrant visa programs over the next 30 days to identify “other measures appropriate to stimulate the United States economy and ensure the prioritization, hiring, and employment of United States workers.” We will be following developments closely to monitor potential impacts on H1Bs, Ls, TNs, Os, Es, and other nonimmigrant categories.
*Certain healthcare workers, children or spouses of US citizens, EB5 investors, and a few other groups are exempted from this ban.