The year 2020 has been a tough year for immigrants in the United States, to say the very least, especially those who have been coming here on various job programs requiring EAD status and for immigrants attempting to meet H1B visa requirements. First, it was a year of OPT job scams that saw many losing money, time, and sadly their chance at obtaining an OPT Job, H1B visa, or any other legitimate immigration opportunity into the United States. Earlier this year, we saw a freeze on green cards that has recently seen an extension, and now Trump's latest executive order on H1B Visas preventing new immigrants from seeking entry into the United States.
Citing high unemployment and a poor economy due to COVID19, Trump has signed yet another executive order to make life difficult for those who have struggled to get by and find legitimate OPT Jobs in the United States. But what does the order mean for you, who does it affect, and what should you know going forward?
What Is Trump's Executive Order on H1B Visas
Many OPT job seekers and former and current F1 students and CPT applicants are asking about Trump's latest executive order. What does it mean and how does it affect your prospects of obtaining an OPT job and eventually maybe even an H1B Visa in the United States. Well, there's good news, and there's bad news, so here are some things you should know. First, Trump's order is an immediate freeze on new visas for immigrant workers and prospective H1B visa job seekers entering the U.S from another country. It carries with an extension of the freeze on new green cards, and with other restrictions in place on H1B visa and other programs, it is expected to last through the end of 2020.
The good news is that it could be sometime before the changes go into effect as they face political and court challenges. However, Trump's executive immigration order is technically meant to take effect immediately as of June 22, 2020. It's also hard to say whether it will be extended beyond its current expiration date of December 31, 2020.
Who Does the Order Currently Affect
First, it's important to understand who this executive order actually affects in terms of actual H1B visa holders and applicants. In addition to new H1B visa applicants, this order will affect the following programs:
- H4 Visa
- L1 Visa
- J1 Visa
- L2 Visa
- H2 Visas
- J1 Visa
It's important to note that it does not matter if you are a new visa applicant or have held similar visas in the past. Unless you currently have a valid stamped visa on your passport and/or are currently in the United States, the executive order applies. The GOOD NEWS is that this executive order only applies to those who have applied for these various programs outside of the United States and do not currently have a valid visa stamped on their passport. If you already here in the United States on one of these visas, you are in luck. Not only can you continue to stay here on your H1B Visa and work legally in the United States, but you can also continue to renew the status of your visa as needed.
What Does it Mean for H1B Jobs?
Unfortunately, there is good news and bad news as H1B visa applicants may have a more difficult time obtaining new jobs. First, the order requires companies to give the job to the highest paying applicant. In other words, companies can no longer save significant amounts of money by hiring someone working on an H1B visa as opposed to hiring an American. This and other restrictions will most likely make obtaining new jobs in the United States on H1B status quite a bit more difficult.
Are There Exemptions?
Although there are very few specific exemptions laid out, it may not be the end of the world for some new H1B Visa applicants. According to the wording of the order, applicants may be exempt if the work they are doing "serves the interests of the United States" while not outline specifically this may include medical jobs and work that is vital to the U.S economy. This decision appears to be at the discretion of the Secretary of State in conjunction with the Department of Homeland Security.
In other good news, it appears current OPT job students may still be able to apply for work status. Furthermore many are concerned on whether or not this will affect their ability to apply for EAD work authorization in the U.S. Fortunately, there are good tidings there as well.
Can I Still Apply for EAD?
Many are concerned about whether or not Trump's executive on H1B visas will affect OPT Jobs, CPT job programs, or others who are currently working or trying to work in the United States. Fortunately, Trump's executive order will not affect your current EAD status, and if you currently have an H1B Visa or are currently seeking an OPT job, you will still be able to apply for EAD. The executive order will only affect the granting of new immigrant visas from outside the United States, and will not affect the availability of EAD work authorization.
What About F1 Students
American F1 Visa students can take a deep breath and relax! Not only will your F1 immigration status not be affected, but you will be able to get into CPT Job programs, and OPT Jobs will still be waiting for you when you get out. If you are an F1 visa applicant or student outside the United States, you too may breathe a sigh of relief. While the order could be extended at any given time, F1 visa applicants are still free to apply as an F1 student as long as their education begins after Trump's executive order expires on December 31, 2020. If you are currently here on an F1 visa, there is good news for you as well. There will be plenty of opportunities to obtain OPT Jobs after you graduate from an F1 status and it should not hurt your ability to apply for EAD when the time comes.
Good News for OPT Jobs
Despite some previous concerns after some objections in the business community, the decision was made to spare OPT job programs. In other words, if you're looking for OPT Jobs, you have nothing to worry about, especially if you're already here in the country. Trump's executive order also so far has seemed to spare CPT job programs as well.
If you're seeking an OPT Job, you will be able to apply for a visa and stay here to work for a period of up to a year. Even better for students with degrees that lend them the opportunity for OPT engineering jobs, OPT technology, and science jobs, and those with related degrees in mathematics may also extend their stay in the OPT job program for up to any additional 24 months.
OPT Jobs are Still Waiting for You
While this may be bad news for new applicants for just met H1B visa requirements, it is not the end of the world, especially for OPT job seekers. Fortunately, we have plenty of good news for F1 students and OPT job seekers, especially in engineering, technology, medical, and other related fields that have produced a high demand for OPT Jobs in advanced fields. While OPT job programs are likely to become more competitive and in higher demand, it always helps to get a head start and work with experts who can help you. We'd love to get started with and you and help you find an OPT job to ride out this political immigration storm.