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US Tech Layoffs: A Guide for H-1B Visa Holders Facing Termination

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The past year has been a rollercoaster for US tech workers, especially immigrants on H-1B visas. Major tech companies like Google, Tesla, and Walmart have announced significant layoffs, leaving many wondering about their future in the US.

However, there’s good news! Contrary to popular belief, H-1B visa holders facing termination have several options to explore before considering leaving the country. Here’s a breakdown of your rights and the paths you can take:

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USCIS Guidelines Offer Hope

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has issued guidelines aimed at providing clarity and options for those who wrongly assume that departure is their only choice. Understanding these guidelines and available options is crucial for H-1B visa holders facing termination.

Also Read: US Green Card Delays? Explore These Alternative Tech Paradises Instead!

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Staying Beyond the 60-Day Grace Period

The standard grace period after losing your H-1B job is 60 days. But this doesn’t mean you have to pack your bags immediately. By filling out the following applications within this period, you can extend your stay:

1. File for Change of Nonimmigrant Status: Initiating an application for a change of nonimmigrant status can offer an extension beyond the 60-day grace period.

2. File for Adjustment of Status: Similarly, filing for an adjustment of status can provide an opportunity to stay in the United States beyond the grace period.

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3. Apply for a “Compelling Circumstances” Employment Authorization Document (EAD): USCIS allows for the filing of an application for a compelling circumstances EAD, providing an additional option for employment authorization.

4. Be the Beneficiary of a Nonfrivolous Petition to Change Employer: H-1B visa holders can explore the possibility of being the beneficiary of a nonfrivolous petition to change employers, extending their authorized stay.

Also Read: Skip the Long Wait! Apply for a US Visa from These Countries Instead

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Taking Action is Key

Remember, filing any of these applications within the 60-day grace period is crucial. This can extend your authorized stay in the US, even if your H-1B status is revoked. Delaying action could force you and your dependents to leave the country sooner.

Adjustment of Status

Eligible H-1B nonimmigrants can start working for a new employer as soon as a new H-1B petition is filed. Adjustment of status applications can be transferred to a new offer of employment after 180 days of pending status.

Additional Points to Consider

Pending Applications: Timely filed applications for an extension of stay or change of status can extend your authorized stay even beyond the initial 60 days.

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Portability of Adjustment Applications: If you have an adjustment of status application pending for more than 180 days, you can sometimes transfer it to a new job offer.

Non-Frivolous Application: Even an application for a different nonimmigrant visa category can be beneficial. This can halt the accrual of “unlawful presence” until a decision is made.

Self-Petitioning for Green Card: If eligible, you can file a self-petition for a green card concurrently with your adjustment of status application. This allows you to stay and work in the US with an EAD while your green card application is processed.

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EAD for Compelling Circumstances: H-1B holders with approved employment-based green card petitions facing unforeseen situations may qualify for a one-year EAD.

Consult an Immigration Attorney: Every situation is unique. Consulting an immigration attorney can help you determine the best course of action based on your specific circumstances.

Also Read: USCIS Announces Grant Program for Citizenship Preparation Across the US

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The Bottom Line

Being laid off can be stressful, especially when your immigration status is tied to your job. Understanding your options as an H-1B visa holder empowers you to make informed decisions during challenging times. Don’t hesitate to explore your legal rights and seek professional guidance to navigate the path forward.


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