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Trump ban on new H1B visas: updates for Grad Students

Trump Suspends New H1B

Trump has put a ban on new H1B visas – what does it mean for Graduate Students? Here’s some clarifications and advice on moving forward.

President Donald Trump blocked visas for a wide variety of jobs, including those for computer programmers and other skilled workers who enter the country under the H1B and L1 visa on June 22, 2020. It is a temporary ban that will remain in effect till Dec 2020. src: NYTimes

Trump has said that the ban will help domestic workers in USA since the economy is already struggling. The visa suspension could open up 525,000 jobs for US workers, a senior administration official said. The official, however, did not explain how the administration arrived at that figure.

Watch Nistha’s analysis

Will Trump putting a ban on new H1B affect Graduate Students?

The ExecutiveOrder does NOT impact students on F1 visas, CPT or OPT. It only impacts the following categories of visa – H-1B, H-2B, L-1A, L-1B, or J-1. This refers to (intern, trainee, teacher, camp counselor, au pair, summer work travel only) and who do not already have such a visa as of June 24, 2020.

New entry suspensions do NOT apply to any of the following:

  • Individuals inside the U.S. on the effective date of the proclamation
  • F-1 students (including those on OPT, STEM OPT, and/or cap-gap)
  • J-1 students (including those on Academic Training)
  • J-1 exchange visitors in categories other than intern, trainee, teacher, camp counselor, au pair, and summer work travel.
  • Individuals outside the U.S. who already have a valid visa prior to June 24, 2020.
  • Individuals outside the U.S. who seek to apply for a visa in a category other than H, L, or the J program categories of intern, trainee, teacher, camp counselor, au pair, and summer work travel
  • Any application filed with USCIS including OPT, STEM OPT, H-1Bs, changes of status, etc.

How does it impact the students who graduate this year?

Trump’s Executive Order places a ban on new issuance of H1B visas till Dec 2020. If your H1B visa is already filed and approved earlier in 2020, you should not be affected. However, it is best to contact your employer and confirm this.

In general, the proclamation does not negate selection in the H-1B lottery or suspend an employer’s ability to file an H-1B petition for an employee. If you have more specific questions about this proclamation as it relates to changes to your immigration status that are or will be handled through your employer (such as H-1B, permanent residency, etc.) please reach out to your employer’s immigration team or legal counsel for specific guidance for your particular situation.

NC State International Students Office

So, who is this bad for?

The proclamation temporarily blocks foreign workers entering on H-1B visas (skilled workers) and L visas (for managers and specialised workers being transferred within a company). Trump also blocked those entering on H-2B seasonal worker visas, which are used by landscapers and other industries. The suspension also applies to J-1 holders “participating in an intern, trainee, teacher, camp counselor, au pair, or summer work travel program.” 

The order also restricts the ability of American companies with global operations and international companies with U.S. branches to transfer foreign executives and other employees to the United States for months or year-long stints. And it blocks the spouses of foreigners who are employed at companies in the United States.

However, the above does NOT ban someone who is already in USA as well as valid visa holders overseas, but they must have an official travel document that permits entry into the United States.

Is this a bad news for international students?

Not directly since it has no bearing on F1 visas whatsoever. Last month, we heard a good news that H1B will give priority to people who have studied in USA which is a great news for international students. However, if Trump carries on like this and makes H1B more restrictive, it creates a ripple effect on students ability to work after graduation. I have already written about What is happening with H1B – should I apply for MS? Such news create an uncertainty in the job market and employers become more cautious in sponsoring H1Bs.

Can there be more bad news for immigration in future?

The June 22, 2020 proclamation does instruct the Secretaries of the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Labor, and the Department of State to work together to recommend modifications to the proclamation within 30 days and then every 60 days after that. So, we do not know at this time if the proclamation will change or if new proclamations will be issued. However, OIS will continue to monitor news bulletins for more information and update this FAQ accordingly once we know anything.

NC State International Students Office

What can I do so that these developments do not impact me?

Some of my colleagues from Citi who couldn’t get H1B were relocated to other countries. Companies try to retain their skilled employees as much as possible, they can move them to Europe or Canada if needed. Talk to your employer & figure out your options.

Of course, startups may not have all these options but if they really want you, they figure out a way especially now when remote working is widely acceptable.

If you were planning to apply to US for studies, be prepared for such announcements. I believe US is best innovation hub – the kind of work and salaries you get there is unmatched elsewhere. If your goal is immigration, look elsewhere as well.

There’s something called recession or Trump proof graduate – he’s the one who’s been so busy skilling himself that he knows he can find a job in any market. Be that guy. If you want to figure how can you become evergreen employable, try our career coaching services and contact us.

If you are solid in your fundamentals, you WILL find a job. It may not be what & where you wanted it right away but you won’t be unemployed.

Lastly, world is changing in unexpected ways. It’s better to be prepared for the worst. The moment you accept that anything can happen, you are half way ready to handle it. Think of backup options & be damn good in your field.

You can do this. Good luck 👍

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