President Trump has limited immigration by signing an executive order that created turmoil worldwide. The order suspended admission/re-admission to the US for citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, including those who are US green card holders. Additionally, the Visa Interview Waiver Program was suspended indefinitely, so visa interviews are now required for all temporary visa applicants or visa renewals, regardless of nationality. These changes impacted global mobility and international travel immediately. Employees impacted by the order are being advised to remain in the US for the near future. Some affected employees are outside the US, unable to return. 

It is obvious that restricted immigration policies will affect the ongoing availability of talent. Foreign student enrollment in US universities is expected to decline in the wake of immigration restrictions. The US already has a shortage of students in the STEM disciplines (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and future talent shortages are likely. 

The executive order on immigration has already adversely affected trading partners who were not given advanced notice of the changes to US immigration policy. Other policies from the new administration that may hurt global relocation include rewarding companies that make products in the US, which will impact global supply chains, and realigning trade agreements, which may result in tariffs and trade wars.

What steps you should take right now:

  1. Identify affected employees companywide. These include employees who are citizens of the seven identified countries including permanent residents of the US (those holding green cards). Do not ignore those who have dual citizenships, if one of the citizenships is from an identified country.
  2. Start a secondary list of employees who may be affected by an expansion of the ban. The order allows for limiting admission/re-admission to the US for citizens from countries considered "terrorist safe havens." At present, some of these countries are Afghanistan, Colombia, Egypt, Lebanon, Pakistan and Venezuela. The list of countries may also expand.
  3. Educate global mobility stakeholders on the issues and discuss alternative mobility strategies. Ensure affected employees are not punished from a career perspective due to this order.
  4. Work with legal and immigration counsels to assist and support affected employees.
  5. Set expectations with relocating employees and mobility stakeholders that US visa procurement/renewal times will be extended and will require interviews.

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