Complete Ban on Non-Immigrants and Gutting of the H-1B Visa Program
President Donald J. Trump and his administration are considering draconian measures to try and stop most non-immigrants from entering the United States for an initial period of 180 days. These measures expected to be announced as early as June 11, 2020 may be the first of multiple administrative measures that are designed to end most non-immigrant visas to the United States.
The Executive Order may bar entry to the United States for L-1, H-1B, H-2B and J-1 visa holders (with limited exceptions) for a temporary period pursuant to INA 212(f) and 215(a). Additional measures may be enacted through administrative procedures and rulemaking over subsequent weeks. Reports indicate that actions being considered include:
• Requiring all salaries for H-1B visas be at least at a Level IV of the OES prevailing wage. This may be enforced with retroactive effect for all current H-1B visa holders;
• Filing fee of $20,000 per case;
• Redefining employer-employee relationship and redefining specialty occupation (as stated in our earlier client alert);
• Requirement for all Labor Condition Applications being signed by the End Client and Petitioner;
• Suspension of Consular Appointments for non-immigrant visas for 120 days;
• Rescission of H-4 spousal work authorizations;
• Eliminating work authorizations for Asylees, Asylum Seekers and those currently residing in the United States in Temporary Protected Status (TPS); and
• Restrictions on Optional Practical Training work authorizations.
According to sources in American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and close to the Administration, there is furious lobbying going on within the White House and it seems that hardliners including Presidential Adviser Stephen Miller and the Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf are winning the fight against more pragmatic voices that include Presidential Son-in-Law and Senior Adviser Jared Kushner and Economic Adviser Larry Kudlow. While the final announcement is still undetermined, the signs and fear within immigration practitioners point to an ominous eventuality.
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