As you all know, Trump signed an Executive Order to pause GC Holders entry. Now, there are many rumors going on regarding the planned Trump’s Executive Order that could potentially block H1B, L1 work visa holders to enter US, increase H1B fee, ending STEM OPT, H4 EAD programs, etc. As of today, June 9th, 2020, all of these are still speculations, and nothing is announced yet. We will cover some of the circulating rumors shared by reputed attorneys with links to the same for your review.
Latest News Update on Executive Order to Ban H1B, L1 Entry
June 22, 2020 6 :20 PM EST : Official Executive order was signed by President. Check article Trump Executive Order Ban for H1B, L1, H4, Others for complete details by Visa category. Below is the summary of the Ban.
|Visa Type||Location||US Visa Stamp, Status||Impact – Dec 31, 2020|
|H1B Visa||Outside US||No H1B Stamp||Cannot enter US|
|H1B Visa||Outside US||Has Valid H1B Stamp||No impact|
|H1B Visa||Inside US||Valid I-797, I-94||No impact|
|H4 Visa||Outside US||No H4 Stamp||Cannot enter US|
|H4 Visa||Outside US||Has Valid H4 Stamp||No impact|
|H4 Visa||Inside US||Valid I-797, I-94||No impact|
|H4 EAD||Inside US||Valid EAD||No impact|
|L1, L2 Visa||Outside US||No L1, L2 Stamp||Cannot enter US|
|L1, L2 Visa||Outside US||Has Valid L1, L2 Stamp||No impact|
|L1, L2 Visa||Inside US||Valid I-797, I-94||No impact|
|L2 EAD||Inside US||Valid EAD||No impact|
|H2B Visa||Outside US||No H2B Stamp||Cannot enter US|
|H2B Visa||Outside US||Has Valid H2B Stamp||No impact|
|H2B Visa||Inside US||Valid approval, I-94||No impact|
|F1, F2 Visa||Anywhere||Does not matter||No impact|
|OPT, STEM OPT||Anywhere||Does not matter||No impact|
|J1 Visa||Outside US||No J1 Stamp||Cannot enter US|
|J1 Visa||Outside US||Valid J1 Stamp||No impact|
|J1 Visa||Inside US||Valid status documents||No impact|
|B1, B2||Anywhere||Does not matter||No impact|
|TN,O1, E3||Anywhere||Does not matter||No Impact|
|Filing USCIS Forms, DOL Process||Impact|
|I-140, I-485 (AOS)||No Impact|
|I-129 (H1B or L1 Transfers, COS, Extensions )||No Impact|
|I-765 (EAD Applications)||No impact|
|All other forms with USCIS, Biometrics, Interviews||No impact|
Trump confirms Work Visas ( H1B, L1, J1) Ban with some exceptions
June 20, 2020 : The long awaited rumors floating around on the H1B visa ban are confirmed today by Trump in his interview with Fox News today. There are no details that he revealed on what is coming. It will be announced in a day or two. Below are couple of points.
- Trump says, there will be big ban on visas and many people will be happy as the unemployment is high. He does not indicate by visa type. He only responds to the question asked by Fox news stating ban on H1B, L1, J1 other visas.
- He says that there will be some exceptions, but very little. He says it is required for big business that are doing businesses for a long time.
- Base on the above, we may speculate it to be for existing Work Visa holders like H1B, L1, others who have stamping already and working maybe exempted. Again, this is pure speculation.
Check this Fox News for Video (Watch from 4 min 32 seconds of clip) for Trump giving update on the visa ban.
You may watch the below YouTube Video too on the update
Rumors on Trump Executive Order for H1B, L1, STEM OPT, H4 EAD
June 14th, 2020 : Many of the below points that could be part of the potential Executive order by Trump are shared by multiple attorneys on twitter, their blogs and YouTube. Below is short summary on what we know so far from these rumors.
Important Note: The below are only speculations or rumors, NOTHING IS OFFICIAL yet and NO rule or Executive Order is passed yet.
Bar Entry of H1B, L1, J1 Visa Holders Outside of US
It is speculated that Trump’ Executive order could ban entry of H1B, H2B, L1, J1 and other non-immigrant work visas for up to 180 days or 6 months. They say that there could be exemptions for health care workers, food and agriculture workers, but not clear on what those exemptions could be. This could impact all the H1B visa 2021 season applicants outside of US planning to arrive in US in October 2020. This would not impact the H1B, L1 and other work visa holders already in the US and working. The reason is that president does not have direct power of Executive order to block H1B or L1 holders from working or renewing their petitions within US.
H1B Fee increase to $20,000, Strengthen H1B program
The H1B filing fee could go up to $20,000. This sounds crazy, but this is what is being speculated and shared by other attorneys. Take it with a pinch of salt. Also, there would likely be rule making process for making H1B program stricter to avoid fraud. This is not new and already part of the unified agenda for a long time. Check Fall 2019 Unified Agenda H1B, H4, F1 OPT info. Trump administration may take this up as a priority now
H1B Duration 2 years, Second LCA
Limit the H1B duration from 3 years to 2 years, including extensions during rule-making. Also, make higher wage requirement of Level 2 for extensions. If there is a client involved for staffing companies, file another LCA. Increase DOL wages These were reported on June 11th by Greg Siskind attorney. Again, all of these are speculations. No official text yet. See references at the end.
You may also watch the YouTube video below that covers the entire article summary
End or change STEM OPT Program, H4 EAD
It is speculated that DHS would end or change the STEM OPT program that gives additional 24 months of OPT for STEM category holders. This would require a regulation and it is not going to work immediately like Executive Order. They will have to go through all 9 step rulemaking process with comments period. Also, as you know H4 EAD Rule Revocation is already with OMB for review, it is rumored that DHS could likely speed up this process.
There are other speculations stating that it could impact work authorization of Asylum Seekers, TPS and refugees. Not sure, what is going to come out.
Fact Check : Can Trump Issue Executive Order to Ban entry ? Rules ?
Yes, as per President powers, he can issue Executive order to ban entry of H1B, L1 and other visa holder. But, he may not be able to end OPT, H4 EAD with Executive order, it needs regulation. Check article Fact check: Can US President ban entry of H1B, L1, J1? Rule? for full info with official regulation text or watch below YouTube video.
When can we expect this Executive Order ?
They are planning to have this by end of this week and effective by June 15th. Not sure, when it would come out for sure.
What are Immigration Groups like AILA, Employers and Attorneys doing ?
It is rumored that many of the groups like AILA, including employers and attorneys are planning for a lawsuit. They want to ensure, if some of the above come in such a way that it impacts their businesses and not in power of president, then they will ask for injunction order. Many of the above, if not properly given in Executive order, can be challenged in court, that’s what all these groups are doing. You can talk to your attorney and employer on this.
What is our take ? What should be your action plan ?
As you know Trump tweeted in the past saying he will suspend immigration to US, then toned it down to only certain GC holders. It scared a lot of people and confused many. Similarly, Trump Administration is notorious to hype something and then get feedback to come up with Executive order that will not get too many challenges in court.
Now, so many of the above listed things may or may not happen. There could be specific clauses for each of them. But, you have to understand that, as per Fall 2019 Unified Agenda, some of the above speculations are not new. They are Trump Administration priorities. Below are those.
- Strengthening of the H1B Visa Nonimmigrant Classification program
- Removing H4 EAD for spouses of H1B holders
- Strengthening of the L1 visa Program.
- Practical Training Reform ( basically STEM OPT)
So, be prepared for some of these.
Action Plan based on the Rumor of Trump Executive order:
Below are some of the things you can do based on your situation. It is better to be safe than sorry.
- Travel back to US : If you are H1B, L1, J1 or other visa holder and outside of US, plan to arrive in US immediately. I understand there are many travel restrictions, but, if possible, try to make arrangements to arrive in US immediately.
- Apply for STEM OPT : if you are eligible to file, even if picked in H1B Lottery, file STEM OPT immediately by working with your DSO.
- Apply for H4 EAD : If you are eligible for H4 EAD, Apply for H4 EAD immediately.
- Update I-94s : If your I-94 was given with shorter duration than the passport due to expiration, make sure you get it updated. Check I-94 update in US after Passport Renewal
Reality – US Consulates Closed, US Unemployment rate, US Elections
These are unprecedented times and still many US Consulates across the globe have not opened, so it may be hard to get visa and fly back…Not sure, what can be done. As the US Unemployment Rate is really high with economy downturn and US Elections planned for later this year, Trump is trying to make some moves so that he can portray his image well during election campaign by talking about these measures. Trump administration has put in many immigration policies since they took office and it could get more worse with the US economy slumping and elections. So, be prepared !
What are your thoughts on this ? What do you think of the rumors ?
References from attorneys :
- YouTube Video – Reddy Neuman Law firm
- Siskind Susser PC Law Firm – New Executive Order F H L
- Kuck Baxter Law Firm – Executive Order Rumor H1B
- Murthy Law Firm – Trump EO
- Tweets by Immigration attorney Greg Siskind below: