Layoffs or retrenchments have become very common these days in the US. There is no stopping this bloodbath, especially in the tech industry. Well, these job losses might give a feeling of Deja Vu, but there might be certain questions arising in the minds of a few. What if nonimmigrant workers in H-1B and other statuses get sacked under the circumstances? What are the alternatives for such a category of workers in the US? Today, let us find answers to these questions.
The Grace Period
Most nonimmigrant employees, who happen to lose jobs, are entitled to a grace period of 60 days. Prior to the start of 2017, such a provision did not exist for the non-immigrant workforce in the US. However, things have changed for the better in the US as laid-off employees in H-1B or other temporary categories have a cushion of 60 days to be in the US. Hence, an employee has to find a suitable employer who is game for filing the change in status or extension within the stipulated period.
Will H-1B Cap Apply In The Case Of Lay Offs?
Also, employers are within their rights to sponsor laid-off employees who have come under the H-1B cap within the past 6 years. The yearly H-1B cap will not apply to such workers again. And overseas workers in the H-1B category, who happened to be beneficiaries of approved I-140s in the green card process, could be recruited by fresh employers within 60 days. Importantly, such employees are permitted to look for US jobs and work from outside the US and come back to the country once their H-1B petition gets approved and they receive a stamped H-1B visa, courtesy of the US Consulate.
It is also to be noted that employees under the H-1B visa category are allowed an extension of 6 years. If the employee has not stayed in the US for less than 6 years then the prospective employers can utilise the left out time in the H-1B status to extend the visa. In some scenarios, the non-immigrant worker can extend the visa beyond the given time provided he/she has an approved I-140 or has a pending I-485 Adjustment of Status, which has been filed within one year prior to the expiry of the current status.
So, laid-off workers in the temporary category in the US need not worry as they have 60 days to find alternative US sponsors. It won’t be an end to their American dreams.