Virginia Tech examining impact of presidential proclamation on nonimmigrant visas
June 26, 2020
Virginia Tech is closely monitoring information about the executive order signed June 22, 2020, by President Donald Trump that suspends entry into the United States of nonimmigrants in certain work visa categories.
The order went into effect June 24 and will last until the end of 2020, although an extension is possible.
The proclamation primarily affects H-1B temporary workers, L-1 transferees, and certain J-1 categories and their dependents who are outside the U.S. and do not have a visa that is valid as of June 24, 2020.
“Our reading of this is that it does not affect foreign nationals currently inside the United States in a lawful immigration status,” said Ian Leuschner, director of International Support Services, part of Outreach and International Affairs. His office supports the nonstudent visa process at the university, handling visas for visiting scholars, faculty, and staff.
H-1B is a nonimmigrant classification for highly skilled, temporary employment in a specialty occupation. It is often called the “working visa” because it is the most commonly used work visa.
“Because the order applies to work visas, it will not have an impact on most students,” Leuschner said.
Don Hempson, associate vice president for international affairs, said the university as well as industry rely on the ability to recruit skilled international workers, academics, and scholars to teach, conduct research, and strengthen the economy.
The new restrictions do not apply to visa-holders already in the U.S. or those outside the country who already have valid visas. However, people currently outside the U.S. should be aware of previously enacted travel restrictions that could make returning to the U.S. difficult at this time.
The university has contacted those who may be affected by the proclamation.
Leuschner said he is advising Virginia Tech employees in H-1B status who are already in the U.S. not to leave the country, as they may not be able to return. “Beyond this proclamation, there are several other proclamations restricting entry to the U.S. for those traveling from abroad. There is also a worldwide suspension of visa services at U.S. embassies and consulates, making it very difficult to apply for new visa foils. Further, new proclamations restricting travel can be issued with very little warning,” he said.
In addition to the June 22 proclamation, the White House released another presidential proclamation on May 29 that potentially affects graduate students and visiting scholars from China who currently conduct or have previously conducted activities supporting China's “military-civil fusion strategy.” The university will be releasing additional information related to the May 29 presidential proclamation when more details are released from the government.
“We continue to be guided by our Principles of Community and our mission as a global land-grant university,” Hempson said. “The international members of our community are vital to that mission, and we will continue to do all we can to advocate for and support them.”
The latest university guidance on U.S. immigration actions can be found at vt.edu/immigration.
We urge anyone with questions to contact their Virginia Tech immigration advisor (International Support Services for employees and J-1 scholars/student interns, or the Cranwell International Center for undergraduate and graduate students).