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The Trump Administration Bans New Temporary Workers
Jun 23, 2020

The Trump Administration Bans New Temporary Workers

Topics: COVID-19, Immigration

On June 22, 2020, the Trump Administration issued yet another travel ban Executive Order.  Aimed at protecting the US labor market from foreign competition and ameliorating high unemployment brought on by the COVID-19 lockdowns, this ban prevents the admission of new foreign workers to the United States.

Specifically, this ban prohibits the admission of foreign nationals in the following nonimmigrant visa categories:

  • H-1B, H-2B, and H-4 temporary workers;
  • J-1 and J-2 exchange visitor if the foreign national is participating in an intern, trainee, teacher, camp counselor, au pair, or summer work travel program; and
  • L-1 and L-2 intracompany transferee.

The limitations on this travel ban indicate that the intention is to stop the flow of new foreign workers to the United States, not to prevent the entry of foreign workers who are already in or have ties to the United States.  This travel ban does not apply foreign nationals that are lawfully present in the United States on the day of implementation and does not apply to individuals who presently hold a valid nonimmigrant visa.  In addition, it bears noting that treaty based employment nonimmigrant visas such as E visas and TN visas, and Extraordinary Ability visas such as O-1 are unaffected by this travel ban. 

Due to COVID-19 related travel restrictions, all US embassies and consulates have suspended routine visa services and the land ports of entry on the northern and southern border are closed to all but essential travelers.  This travel ban will not have any effect until the consulates reopen because right now, the consulates are only issuing visas on an emergency basis.  Once the consulates reopen, individuals who are abroad seeking an H-1B, H-2B, H-4, J, or L visa who were not in the United States on June 22, 2020 or do not hold a valid nonimmigrant visa should be refused a visa.  That does not mean that unaffected individuals will not encounter difficulties.  Even without pop-up travel bans such as this one, immigration law is complicated.  Even though consular officials are highly educated and well trained, foreign nationals may encounter difficulties and should be prepared to explain and prove that they are not affected by this order.

Finally, it bears noting that this travel ban does not mention changing or extending nonimmigrant status in the United States.  This means that an employer seeking to hire an H-1B worker who is presently working at another employer is free to file a petition to change employer.  Additionally, an employer that presently employs an H or L employee is free to petition to extend their employment.  Individuals seeking status in one of the banned visa categories or employers seeking to employ a foreign national in a banned category should seek the counsel of a competent immigration attorney.

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For over 25 years, CDF has distinguished itself as one of the top employment, labor and immigration firms in California, representing employers in single-plaintiff and class action lawsuits and advising employers on related legal compliance and risk avoidance. We cover the state, with five locations from Sacramento to San Diego.

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About the Editor

Robin Largent has a regular presence in California state and federal courts and has been lead defense counsel and appellate counsel for large and small California employers in litigation (and arbitration) ranging from individual discrimination and harassment claims to complex wage and hour representative and class actions. She also leads the firm’s appellate practice, having substantial experience and success handling appeals, writ petitions, and amicus briefs in both state and federal court on issues such as class certification (particularly in the wage and hour arena), manageability and due process concerns associated with class action trials, exempt/non-exempt misclassification issues, meal and rest break compliance, trade secret/unfair competition matters, and the scope of federal court jurisdiction under the Class Action Fairness Act.
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