Within the last couple days and hours, there appeared to be no direct information from the Biden administration on the status of the H1-B visa ban as the March 31 expiration date approached. Bloomberg reported that an announcement from the State Department that it would again begin processing these visas was “the first official acknowledgment by the Biden administration that those restrictions have ended.”
In that announcement dated April 1, the State Department said “Presidential Proclamation 10052, which temporarily suspended the entry of certain H-1B, H-2B, J (for certain categories within the Exchange Visitor Program), and L nonimmigrants, expired on March 31, 2021.” The statement further said that “[v]isa applicants who were previously refused visas due to the restrictions of Presidential Proclamation 10052 may reapply by submitting a new application including a new fee.”
“Biden’s decision will please business groups in Silicon Valley as well as India’s information technology services leaders, which had pressured the administration to lift the ban ever since the new president took office,” the LA Times said. “Executives had grown frustrated that the directive was not immediately revoked, arguing it hurt U.S. companies.”
The previous administration had long sought to wall off legal immigration entirely, and used the pandemic as an excuse to do this via the green card ban in particular.
“This ban was a preventable tragedy that has kept fathers and mothers from children, spouse from spouse, and exacerbated the stress and anxiety over the last year for many families,” American Immigration Lawyers Association director of litigation Jesse Bless said following the ban’s termination last month. The organization was a part of the coalition that sued the previous administration last year on behalf of people like Nazif Alam, a plaintiff and green card holder who’d been separated from his wife for more than two years.
“I am really looking forward to spending time with my wife again. After so much waiting, we can finally start our American dream together,” he said. “It is our diversity and our ability to bring great people from around the world together that makes this nation strong. It is great that the federal government is finally helping families reunite.”