On June 22, 2020, President Trump issued a Presidential Proclamation ("Proclamation Suspending Entry of Aliens Who Present a Risk to the U.S. Labor Market Following the Coronavirus Outbreak") that ordered restrictions on the ability of persons to enter the United States in certain types of visa classifications that allow US-based employment. These visa classifications include the H-1B and H-2B visas, certain categories of the J-1 exchange visitor visa, and L visas. The restrictions go into effect at 12:01am EDT on Thursday, June 24 and will last until December 31, 2020 unless otherwise terminated or extended.
This Proclamation has been rumored and discussed in the media for several weeks, and it is important to outline what the Proclamation does, and does not, do.
The Proclamation does restrict the ability of certain persons to enter the US in H-1B, H-2B, L, and specific categories of J-1 status, if they are outside the US on the date the Proclamation becomes effective and do not already have a nonimmigrant visa or other travel document permitting entry into the US. There are certain exceptions for lawful permanent residents, family members of US citizens, and other categories. Exceptions may also be granted to persons whose entry into the US is deemed to be in the US national interest, including persons whose work is critical to COVID-19 response efforts or persons engaged in medical research relating to the pandemic.
Note that among the visa restrictions imposed by the Proclamation, only the H-1B restriction will be immediately relevant to Tufts's current hiring and sponsorship practices. Persons who have been hired by Tufts to start new H-1B employment later this summer or fall, and who are currently outside the US and do not already have their visas, will likely be unable to enter the US to start H-1B employment until after the Proclamation effectively ends.
Note that the Proclamation does NOT
affect the status of persons already in the US who are either changing to H-1B status, or extending their current H-1B status
apply to J-1 categories that are common to higher education, including the J-1 short-term scholar, research scholar, professor, specialist and college/university student categories
apply to other types of employment visas not listed above, such as the TN Trade NAFTA professional visa, the E-3 Specialty Occupation worker from Australia visa, and the O-1 Alien of Extraordinary Ability visa
apply to or include F-1 students or F-1 employment benefits such as Optional Practical Training or Curricular Practical Training
This Proclamation does not provide detailed instructions on specific visa and travel situations and it may take time for US consular and border control officers to receive instructions and guidelines on how to enforce the visa restrictions included in the Proclamation.
Given this, if you are currently employed at Tufts in H-1B status, the International Center strongly advises using a high degree of caution when making future international travel plans, whether for business or pleasure. This caution applies especially if you do not currently have a valid H-1B visa if required for re-entry to the US. Please keep in mind that as of the date of this memo, US consulates and visa services remain closed and a variety of other COVID-19 related travel suspensions and executive order travel bans are still in place. These additional restrictions may hinder your ability to re-enter the US regardless of the contents of this Proclamation. Consult with the International Center prior to embarking on travel plans.
Outreach and Upcoming Open Forum Sessions
In the coming days, the International Center's H-1B advising team will reach out to individual schools and departments that may be affected by the Presidential Proclamation, to discuss likely options. In addition, the Center has scheduled two open forum meetings to discuss immigration and visa matters and will address this Presidential Proclamation at both meetings. We encourage interested parties to attend the appropriate meeting:
June 26 at 10am - Department briefing on international employment issues* (for department managers and administrators with responsibility on international hiring and visa sponsorship issues)
*Please contact Andrew Shiotani (Andrew.Shiotani@tufts.edu) or your International Center contact for registration information regarding the June 26 session, which is for department hiring managers and administrators.
Ongoing Updates and Support
The International Center will continue to monitor this development. Please expect additional updates regarding the status and federal government implementation of the Proclamation. If you have any questions in the meantime, please do not hesitate to reach out to your International Center advising contact or to me directly at Andrew.Shiotani@tufts.edu.
Tufts University values the significant contributions that our international scholars and employees make to the mission and objectives of the University and to the broader values of international educational, cultural, and academic exchange. We appreciate the opportunity to continue to advocate for and support our international community in these challenging circumstances.
Andrew K. Shiotani
Director, Tufts International Center