H-1B visa stamping in the US
The H-1B visa allows employers in the United States to hire workers from other countries for speciality jobs. Representative photo: iStock

Amid layoffs, US introduces new rules to help sacked H-1B visa holders extend stay

Immigrants who have lost their jobs, besides being provided a grace period of 60 days, will have the option to change their non-immigrant status and file for one-year EAD to continue living in the US

In a major relief for immigrants who lost their jobs as part of a latest series of layoffs by companies like Google, Tesla and Walmart, the United States has announced fresh guidelines for those living in the country on an H-1B visa.

The H-1B visa allows employers in the United States to hire workers from other countries for speciality jobs.

Besides the 60-day grace period for H-1B visa holders who have lost their jobs, the new guidelines issued by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) offer several additional avenues that they can consider before leaving the country.

As per USCIS, immigrants can extend their stay by:

· Filing for a change of non-immigrant status within the grace period of 60 days.

· Filing an adjustment of status application.

· Filing an application for “compelling circumstances” under which workers may qualify for a one-year Employment Authorisation Document (EAD).

· Filing an application to become beneficiary of a nonfrivolous petition to change employer.

The applicant, however, will lose their non-immigrant status which they were enjoying while in employment. The USCIS also says that immigrants who fail to take the abovementioned choices will be asked to depart the US with their dependents.

“If one of these actions occurs within the up to 60-day grace period, the nonimmigrant’s period of authorised stay in the United States can exceed 60 days, even if they lose their non-immigrant status. If the worker takes no action within the grace period, they and their dependents may then need to depart the United States within 60 days, or when their authorised validity period ends, whichever is shorter,” the USCIS said.

Options for immigrants

The migration authority has also said that H-1B visa holders can work with a new sponsor as soon as a fresh H-1B petition is filed on their behalf without waiting for approval.

Also, those who have applied for adjustment of status can transfer their application to a new job after the passage of 180 days.

Immigrants can also file a non-frivolous application to change status to dependent, student or visitor. This will prevent accrual or unlawful presence until adjudication.

Workers applying for immigrant visas through self-petitioning can simultaneously submit an adjustment of status application. They can remain in the US till their application is being processed and acquire an Employment Authorisation Document (EAD).

Individuals who have been granted immigrant visa petitions based on employment and are facing a compelling situation are qualified for a one-year EAD. This will help such individuals continue with their jobs in the US while awaiting permanent resident status.

Read More
Next Story