Amid the current chaotic situation due to the coronavirus pandemic, a lot has been happening all around the world. Many changes are being made to either contain the situation or to ease the complexities faced by people in the ongoing pandemic situation.
One such change, recently introduced by USA’s President Mr. Donald Trump, pertains to a temporary ban on immigrant visas into the US amid the pandemic.
What is the new Immigration ban?
On April 22, 2020, Mr. Trump has signed an executive order to ban immigration into the US for 60 days, starting from April 23, 2020. 10 days before the expiry of this ban i.e. around June 13, 2020, Trump’s administrative team will analyze the situation at that time to either continue the ban or cease it. However, given the current lockdown of the USA’s administration and travel ban due to the Coronavirus, this ban will have little to no effect in real terms.
This, in reality, is just a partial and temporary ban on immigration that will put a pause on the issuance of new Green Cards for 60 days, in a bid to seemingly protect American jobs from foreign workers amid the ongoing pandemic situation.
Who is banned?
The ban is specifically for people who are outside the USA and are seeking its permanent residency or the Green Card through an American Family member, a parent, child (21 years), or a sibling. This ban also includes immigrants who have applied for a Green Card from other means such as employment or the EB-1 (extraordinary ability) category.
Is anyone exempted from it?
Yes, Investors and Medical Professionals who are currently working to combat the COVID-19 are exempted from this ban. Also, spouses and children under the age of 21 of American citizens can still get Green cards.
The ban will also not impact people who are already in the US and have applied for permanent residencies like skilled workers (H1-B visa holders) or business travelers (B1/B2 visa holders).
Should prospective international students looking to study in the USA be concerned about this?
No. As mentioned above, this ban is only for people residing outside the USA and are seeking Green Cards. Given the current economic meltdown in the US due to the pandemic and Higher Education being one of the top contributors to the US economy, international students looking to study in the US will not face any issue and will continue to receive support from the US like earlier. There is no effect on F-1 visas or post-study work options via OPT (Optional Practical Training).
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