US govt announces certain exemptions on H-1B and L-1 visas travel ban
In a partial relief, the Trump administration has announced certain exemptions in H-1B and L-1 travel ban for those continuing employment with the same employer.
The tweaking of the June 22 H-1B or L-1 travel ban could help Indian tech professionals and those working in the healthcare sector. The changes include family members of H-1B, L-1 and certain categories of J1 visas.
The State Department said that the exemptions have been given under national interest category. In its advisory, the State Department said that H-1B and L-1 visas can now be issued for employees who are “seeking to resume ongoing employment in the United States in the same position with the same employer and visa classification.”
Forcing employers to replace existing employees may cause financial hardship, it said. All those on H-1B visas working in the healthcare sector, especially those related to the COVID-19 pandemic, or to conduct ongoing medical research in an area with a substantial public health benefit – like cancer or communicable disease research – are also exempted from the July 22 travel ban.
New factors have been set forth to also allow H-1B visas to be issued when at least two of the five indicators are met, the State Department said.
The factors include the applicant’s proposed job duties or position within the petitioning company indicates the individual will provide significant and unique contributions to an employer meeting a critical infrastructure need.
President Donald Trump, in his June proclamation, banned the entry into the US of workers in several key non-immigrant visa categories, including the H-1B, on the grounds that they snatched away American jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. Companies depend on it to hire tens of thousands of employees each year from countries like India and China.
The exemptions for L1 visas are mostly similar to that of the H-1B
Another factor is that the wage rate paid to the H-1B applicant meaningfully exceeds the prevailing wage rate by at least 15 per cent. When an H-1B applicant will receive a wage that meaningfully exceeds the prevailing wage, it suggests that the employee fills an important business need where an American worker is not available, the State Department said.