Exemptions announced in H-1B and L-1 travel ban

These exemptions by the US, applicable to employees’ spouses and dependants also, will bring much relief to existing Indian IT professionals and those working in the healthcare space


Indian IT professionals and those working in the healthcare sector in the US will be relieved with the recent exemptions announced in H-1B and L-1 travel ban for those continuing in service with the same employer.

In June, during the pandemic, President Trump had banned the entry of workers into the US in various non-immigrant visa classes, including H-1B as they took away jobs from the locals. This H-1B or L-1 Travel Ban, applied to even the family members of those holding visas in the H-1B, L-1 and certain J1 categories.

The exemptions now been given under the national interest category, allow the issuance of H-1B and L-1 visas for employees who wish to continue in the employment of the current employer in the US, in the same position and under the same visa category.

All H-1B visa holders employed in the healthcare sector, in particular those involved in the pandemic-related work or involved in medical research in the field of cancer or communicable diseases, will be exempted from the travel ban.

This move is the result of the various requests made recently by lawmakers to exclude healthcare workers from the travel ban.

H1-B visas can be issued if the petitioning employer has a continued need for the services of the H-1B non-immigrant in the US. However, if the applicant is presently working from home or is able to provide his services remotely from outside the US, this criteria cannot be met.

Visas can also be issued if the applicant’s proposed job duties or position within the petitioner’s organisation clearly indicates that the individual is needed for his / her unique and extraordinary contributions or to fulfil a critical infrastructure need (in the chemical, communications, dams, defense industrial base, emergency services, energy, financial services, food and agriculture, government facilities, healthcare and public health, information technology, nuclear reactors, transportation, and water systems.)

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