President Trump made headlines this past week when he issued an executive order titled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States” (the “Executive Order”). The Executive Order, among other things, (i) suspends entry into the U.S. for citizens of Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Sudan, Syria and Somalia for 90 days, (ii) suspends any refugee admission into the U.S. for 120 days, and (iii) creates an indefinite ban on Syrian refugee entry.
The widespread implications of the Executive Order remain unclear, and there are likely to be additional changes in the future. Nevertheless, the Executive Order will have real and immediate consequences for certain employees, and employers need to be proactive in addressing this matter.
First, an employer with employees from the 7 affected countries should put a halt to any international travel planned for such employees. Furthermore, employees who are non-U.S. citizens, but unaffected by the Executive Order, should also exercise caution while traveling abroad. It would be prudent for those employees to ensure they maintain sufficient documentation regarding their legal status in the U.S.
Second, employers should postpone any visa appointments. As part of the Executive Order, President Trump suspended the Visa Interview Waiver Program. This means wait times for visa appointees will drastically increase, and these employees are likely to remain outside the U.S. for a significant period of time.
Numerous legal challenges have been brought against the Executive Order, and the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York issued a temporary stay on the Executive Order. Other lawsuits across the country remain pending, and how the courts will rule on these challenges is uncertain.
At this time, employers do not need to adopt any new official company policies, but employers should be sure to stay abreast of any new developments related to the Executive Order and follow the best practices outlined above. For further guidance and information please contact Rob Gilmore or Alan Rauss.