The recent immigration restriction by the US Government, barring entry of new H1-B applicants into the United States after June 24, 2020, impacted around 665,000 potential non-immigrant visa holders including 85,000 new potential H1-B visas holders. This proclamation has also adversely affected approximately 100,000 each of L1 and H4 visas, around 80,000 H2B visas, and almost 300,000 J1 visas, as these non-immigrant visas will now be withheld from being issued for this year. This ban on work visas will delay the process of over 180,000 visa applications through the end of the year.
The impact of this immigration ban is not just limited to job loss but also has largely impacted a large number of tech companies, the families of these non-immigrant visa holders as they are struggling to unite with a dependent visa, and the students coming on exchange programs. We have seen the rise in restrictive immigration policies unleashed by the US government under the current political administration lead by President Trump. The good news is that the potential ban against foreign students who may be taking certain online classes has been stopped in its tracks today as a federal judge announced that the US must rescind this restrictive policy requiring at least one in-person class. The fact is that leading universities in the US have sought to protect students by permitting complete semester coursework online only and the directive could actually harm students. We are pleased to see the extent of support that the universities received by virtue of briefs filed by Fortune 500 tech companies and other universities.
Nonetheless, due to the current ban on work visas, we must consider options for the H-1B and the L-1 visas. We, at Emandi Law Firm, bring various alternatives to address the ban of several non-immigrant visas:
1. Qualify for O-1 Visas:
The O-1 nonimmigrant visa is for the individual who possesses extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or who has a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry and has been recognized nationally or internationally for those achievements.
2. Apply for EB-5 Visa:
Non-immigrants can apply for an EB-5 visa which would permit the individual to apply for US permanent residency status and can be extended to the primary beneficiary’s family as well. The foreign national must qualify for this visa, by providing an investment of a minimum of $900,000 a year in business in the US is required, and also provide employment for at least 10 American citizens.
3. Apply for P Visas:
The P visa is a special category of visas that allows allowing entertainers, athletes, or their support staff such as coaches, managers, and event organizers to live and perform in the US for a limited time for one concert or a series of shows.
4. Apply for TN Visa:
The TN visa is based on the NAFTA/USMCA agreement permitting Mexican and Canadian nationals to enter and work on a non-immigrant work visa. The professions permitted under a TN visa include STEM workers such as scientists, technical engineers, economists, architects, professors, and health professionals.
5. Inter-corporate transfer – Canada:
Where the American company’s beneficiary is working in Canada at the subsidiary company, he/she can enter the US on a B-1 visa wherein the worker can execute the same duties.
While the work visa ban is valid till 12/31/2020, it is possible to modify it as necessary.