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New Travel Ban Puts Employees in Tight Spot

Bridge Team Member

On Sept. 24, the White House issued a Presidential Proclamation imposing travel restrictions on citizens of eight countries.  This announcement came on the finalexpiration date of the 90-day temporary suspension of travel eligibility created on March 6 by Executive Order 13780,which in turn replaced Executive Order 13769 issued on Jan. 27.

Ofthe eight countries affected by the latest announcement, Chad, North Korea, andVenezuela were not subject to any of the travel restrictions previously inplace, although citizens of North Korea have been subjected to a de facto travel ban for decades.  Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen remainlisted, having been among the countries affected by the original ExecutiveOrder.

So,what does this mean for employees who hold citizenship of one of thesecountries?  Well, first of all, itdepends on which of these countrieswe’re talking about.

Employees From Venezuela

Employeeswho are citizens of Venezuelan are highly unlikely to experience any adverseconsequences, as these restrictions are limited to certain government officialsseeking visitor visas.  Citizens of eachof the remaining seven countries, however, face an indefinite suspension of theirability to obtain immigrant visas for permanent residence at a consular postoverseas. 

Employees From Syria, Iran, and North Korea

Withregards to employment-based nonimmigrant categories (such as H, L, or O) Syria,Iran, and North Korea are the three countries whose citizens are prevented frombeing issued visas under these categories, effective Oct. 18.  For Iranians, a limited exception applies onlyin the case of student visas. 

Employees From Chad, Libya, and Yemen

For threeof the affected countries – Chad, Libya, and Yemen – the B visitor visa is theonly category their citizens are prohibited from receiving.

Employees From Somalia

Citizens of Somalia remain eligible to seekany type of nonimmigrant visa, but will be subjected to undefined “additionalsecurity” during the course of any visa adjudications.               

Barring anyjudicially ordered injunctions in the interim, these travel restrictions willgo into effect on Oct. 19.  Visas issuedprior to this date will be honored and are not subject to revocation pursuantto the new measures.  In addition, theserestrictions will not be applied retroactively to those who already heldpermanent resident status prior to the announcement.  

TheProclamation does not appear to suggest that citizens of the affected countrieswill be restricted in seeking immigration benefits through the United StatesCitizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Therefore, it is highly desirable for such employees to preserve theireligibility to seek Adjustment of Status when seeking permanent residence. 

Some othersmall glimmers of hope exist for employees from the affected countries.  Those who hold dual nationality will not beprevented from travelling into the U.S. using the passport of another countrythat is not affected by these travel restrictions. 

Furthermore,the Proclamation provides for the granting of discretionary waivers from itstravel restrictions on a case-by-case basis to those who are able todemonstrate undue hardship, and that their entry would be in the nationalinterest and not pose any threat to the national security or publicsafety.

Should you have any questions about how this impacts your business or employees, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at support@bridge.us.

Disclaimer: This content is not a form of legal advice and should not be treated as a substitute for legal counsel. Bridge US encourages readers to discuss any and all immigration-related concerns with an attorney.

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