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  • Washington Highlights

    President Trump Issues Proclamation Limiting Certain Nonimmigrant Visas


    Matthew Shick, Sr. Director, Gov't Relations & Regulatory Affairs

    President Donald Trump issued a proclamation on June 22 limiting entry into the United States for individuals on H-1B “specialty occupation” visas and certain J-1 “exchange visitor” visas, among others, through Dec. 30, 2020. Generally, the suspension does not apply to valid nonimmigrant visas issued prior to June 24 nor to individuals already in the United States before that date. 

    In response to the proclamation, AAMC President and Chief Executive Officer David Skorton, MD, stated, “The AAMC is deeply troubled by this proclamation, which will hinder our nation’s health care workforce and biomedical research enterprise. The medical residents, physicians, postdoctoral researchers, and graduate students who work and train in the United States with H-1B and J-1 visas are integral to providing health care nationwide.”

    While the proclamation suspends certain categories of J-1 visas, it notably does not suspend J-1 “alien physicians,” commonly used for graduate medical education, and J-1 “professors/research scholars.”

    Physicians, medical residents, and researchers also frequently use the H-1B visa. The proclamation exempts individuals who “are involved with the provision of medical care to individuals who have contracted COVID-19 and are currently hospitalized” or “are involved with the provision of medical research at United States facilities to help the United States combat COVID-19.”

    The proclamation also includes a national interest exemption as determined by the secretary of state, the secretary of homeland security, or their respective designees. The AAMC statement notes, “The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted how sustaining our country’s health workforce is clearly a matter of vital national interest, as stated in the President’s April 22 immigration proclamation that categorically exempts health care professionals.”