The Freeze of Relocation to the U.S.

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Visa Suspensions, Exemptions, and Remedies for Affected Businesses

On April 22, President Trump signed Proclamation 10014, suspending the entry of aliens who weren’t already in possession of a valid visa or travel document, unless those aliens were seeking entry to perform medical services that would lessen the effects of COVID-19. The proclamation was designed to alleviate the economic crisis that developed as a result of the pandemic. It was originally set to expire after 60 days but was extended through the end of 2020 by Presidential Proclamation 10052.

This decision caught a lot of American startups off guard, stalling productivity and forcing them to abandon their foreign talent and begin costly and time-consuming recruiting processes. Despite the Proclamations’ intentions, the loss of these businesses presents its own threat to the U.S. economy.

Which Visas Are Suspended?

Several visa categories are affected by the suspension. The following are three of the most common visa categories that will no longer be processed until the restrictions are lifted, which is optimistically expected sometime in 2021. Any applications or petitions submitted for these categories in the meantime will be reviewed for exempting circumstances and denied if none are proven in the initial application.

H

The H-1B visa is for specialized foreign workers who perform functions that the employer cannot have filled in the U.S. This visa is most often used by the tech industry. Employers who are looking to hire nonagricultural seasonal workers would normally petition for H-2B visas. The suspension restricts these visas, as well as the H-4, which is for the immediate family of H-1B holders.

L

Upper-level management and specialized workers who wish to transfer to the U.S. branch of their current company could previously do so with an L-1 visa. The L-1 visa will now be restricted along with the L-2 for immediate family.

J

Cultural exchange programs will no longer be able to get J-1 visas for interns, trainees, teachers, camp counselors, au pairs, and summer work travelers due to restrictions on the J-1 visa. Immediate family is also affected by the J-2 visa restriction.

 

 

Who is exempt?

Spouses and children of U.S. citizens may still apply for an immigrant visa sponsored by your citizen family member. Foreign workers in the food and agriculture industries are exempt from the proclamation, as are any immigrants or nonimmigrants petitioning for the purposes of serving national interest. Other more exclusive nonimmigrant categories are also exempt, such as the O visa for persons of extraordinary ability or achievement. Specifically mentioned in the petition are medical professionals and researchers whose service in the U.S. will aid in the alleviation of the effects of COVID-19.

Exempting circumstances for the visas affected by the proclamation include the inevitability of a financial crisis in the event the foreign worker is not allowed to transfer, assuming the position cannot be filled by a current U.S. resident, and travel that is requested by the U.S. government to satisfy obligations.

In some cases, the wage being paid to the applicant must exceed the prevailing wage for that position by at least 15% in order to qualify. Exemptions may also be made for travelers who are needed to provide care for U.S. citizen minors. If a national interest exemption is granted to an applicant, his or her family may also be granted their related visas.

GRSee Consulting E1 Program

Another category of nonimmigrant visa that is exempt from the suspension is the E1 Trader’s Treaty Visa. This visa allows the applicant to enter the U.S. to conduct business involved in international trade. It may also cover immediate family members. Once approved and present in the United States, the spouse of the applicant may work, as well.

GRSee Consulting operates under the U.S. Trader’s Treaty to offers outsourcing services to companies that need to relocate their existing employees to the United States but are inhibited by Proclamation 10014. We work with startup companies who are hoping to save all the time and money that would otherwise be spent on extensive recruiting to fill positions affected by the suspension. In certain circumstances, we’re also able to bring our own staff onsite to fill a permanent position.

How to Secure the Talent You Need

Don’t let the visa freeze damage your business during an already difficult time. If the talent you need to support your startup is located outside the United States, save your resources by letting us handle your employee relocation. Contact GRSee to discuss the needs of your company and find out how we can help you survive the effects of COVID-19 and related legislation.

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