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Administration Suspends Certain Employment-Based Visas

On June 22, the White House issued a new immigration proclamation, suspending entry of individuals who present a risk to the economy.

This action builds on a proclamation issued in April suspending most immigrant visas for 60 days; the April notice contained exceptions for health care workers, as well as other professionals engaging in work to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak. Immigrant visas are for individuals seeking permanent residence in the United States, while non-immigrant visas are granted to individuals looking to temporarily reside in the U.S. for employment, education, tourism, and other short-term purposes.

After reviewing the April proclamation, the department of Labor and Homeland Security found the admission of workers within several non-immigrant visa categories poses a risk to United States workers during this period of economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new proclamation extends the suspension of immigrant visas and pauses the issuance of new non-immigrant employment-based visas until Dec. 31, 2020. The visa categories on hold include H-1B, H-2B, L and certain J non-immigrants. H-1B visas are used by many health care professionals, such as international medical graduates attending residency programs in the U.S. The order excludes immigrants already in the country with existing visas or those already in possession of visas prior to the proclamation. The suspension on non-immigrant visas excludes spouses or children of U.S. citizens, in addition to individuals whose entry is deemed in the national interest by the departments of State or Homeland Security. These individuals include those providing care to hospitalized COVID-19 patients or conducting research on COVID-19.

Contact Senior Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at eomalley@essentialhospitals.org or 202.585.0127 with questions.

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About the Author

Abigail Painchaud is a policy associate at America's Essential Hospitals.

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