Immigrants looking to obtain several types of work visas in the United States must now wait until at least 2021. Those seeking new L-1, H-1B or J-1 work visas won’t receive them under new restrictions that came into effect on June 24. The new work visa restrictions are part of the Trump administration’s efforts to curb immigration and to help unemployed U.S. citizens get back to work after the recent economic downturn.

The new work visa restrictions don’t apply to the following:

  • lawful permanent U.S. residents
  • spouses or children of a U.S. citizen
  • individuals working in the food supply chain

L-1 visas normally go to immigrants seeking intercompany transfers, while workers in specialty occupations receive H-1B visas. J-1 visas go to exchange visitors. The administration’s new work visa restrictions also limit H-4 visas for spouses of immigrant workers.

Curbing immigration during coronavirus

The new work visa restrictions are part of the Trump administration’s continuing efforts to limit immigration. Since the coronavirus pandemic hit the United States in March, the administration also has closed southern border to migrants, even to those seeking asylum (unless specific conditions apply).

In addition, in March, the Trump administration wanted to force international students to return home if their university didn’t offer in-person instruction this fall. However, hundreds of universities opposed the mandate. Eight federal lawsuits were filed over the decision. Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology filed one of those lawsuits. That lawsuit argued that the policy put international students’ safety at risk and hurt institutions financially. So just recently, the administration dropped this restriction.

Will more changes be ahead?

Many immigration proponents wonder what other immigration limits may be coming as the U.S. election nears and President Trump seeks to remind voters of his “America First” efforts. Those seeking to immigrate always should keep in close contact with an immigration attorney. An attorney can help determine what visas immigrants may be eligible for and when and if the current restrictions may end.