Our global employment and immigration team details a number of recent developments with important implications for the US healthcare industry. These include a ruling by the US Supreme Court to lift the October 2019 injunction on the public charge rule, visa reciprocity changes for France and Australia, the potential expansion of the list of countries subject to the administration’s travel ban, and eligibility changes for E-1 treaty trader and E-2 treaty investor visas affecting Iranian nationals. Recent studies show that nearly one in four US healthcare industry workers are immigrants. To that end, healthcare industry employers should be aware of and consider how these changes may impact their workforce.
The US District Court for the District of Oregon on November 2 issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) to block the new health insurance requirement for immigrant visa applicants from taking effect on November 3, 2019. As discussed in an earlier alert, the White House issued a presidential proclamation that sought to deny admission to the United States of “immigrant” foreign nationals that will “financially burden the United States healthcare system.” The proclamation effectively deems aliens seeking to immigrate permanently to the United States inadmissible unless they will be covered by “approved” health insurance within 30 days of their entry into the United States or have the financial resources to pay for “reasonably foreseeable” medical costs.
Our global employment and immigration team recently issued alerts on decisions that affect the healthcare industry. The team discussed a new presidential proclamation that effectively makes foreign nationals inadmissible to the United States unless they have “approved” health insurance coverage, and noted that a trio of district courts have halted federal enforcement of the public charge rule. The team had previously summarized the public charge rule, which will not take effect so long as the district court lawsuits are pending.
A final rule released by the US Department of Homeland Security will make it more difficult for foreign nationals who use public benefits to adjust or extend their immigration status in the United States based on their likelihood of becoming a “public charge” in the future. The rule also expands the list of programs that can lead to a public charge determination to those that provide healthcare and social services to vulnerable populations including Medicaid, SSI, SNAP, TANF, and federal housing benefits.