US extends stay options for H-1B visa holders employees who have been laid-off, deets inside

The USCIS has clarified that laid-off non-immigrant workers often misunderstand their options, mistakenly believing they must leave the country within 60 days of job loss.

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In a recent announcement, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has shed light on an important aspect concerning laid-off H-1B workers in the US. Despite widespread assumptions, employees on H-1B visas have the opportunity to extend their stay beyond the usual 60-day period following job termination.

The USCIS has clarified that laid-off non-immigrant workers often misunderstand their options, mistakenly believing they must leave the country within 60 days of job loss. However, the agency emphasizes that several avenues exist for maintaining an authorized stay in the US.

Key steps for affected workers

Workers facing layoff have several options to extend their stay in the US, including filing for a change of non-immigrant status, adjustment of status, or compelling circumstances employment authorization. Taking any of these actions during the 60-day grace period allows individuals to remain in the US beyond the initial timeframe, even if they lose their previous non-immigrant status.

As stated in the press release, when a non-immigrant worker's employment terminates, whether by choice or not, they usually have the option, if eligible, to engage in one of the following activities to extend their authorized stay in the United States:

  • Submit an application for a change in non-immigrant status;
  • Submit an application for adjustment of status;
  • Submit an application for an employment authorization document based on 'compelling circumstances';
  • Benefit from a legitimate petition to change employers.

Flexibility for employment transition

Moreover, H-1B non-immigrants have the flexibility to commence employment with a new employer as soon as a proper H-1B petition is filed, without waiting for approval. This streamlined process offers a seamless transition for workers seeking alternative job opportunities in the US.

What are future opportunities?

While workers have the option to extend their stay, they also retain the choice to leave the US if desired. Employers are responsible for covering transportation costs for workers returning to their home countries post-layoff. However, departing workers may still explore future employment prospects in the US or apply for other eligible classifications from abroad.

Amidst layoffs in the tech industry, the USCIS aims to empower affected professionals with knowledge about their rights and available options. By understanding the procedures outlined by the USCIS, laid-off workers can make informed decisions regarding their immigration status and future endeavors in the US job market.