What Happens When You Lose Your Job on an H-1B Visa?


H-1B visas require sponsorship from a company with whom you share a verifiable employer-employee relationship.  And while you do not immediately pass out of status when that relationship ends, things can get a little complicated.

Here’s what you need to know.

You may be entitled to certain benefits.

If an American employee is entitled to severance pay after being laid off or fired, then you are, too. Understanding what your American colleagues should receive after losing their job may give you vital resources to manage while you’re trying to navigate both your status and your finances.

Just keep in mind that all H-1B employment is “at-will,” and certain employers don’t provide benefits to any employee in the event of a layoff or termination, regardless of that employee’s country of origin.

You have 60 days to find a new job or a new status.

Meanwhile, your former employer must immediately notify USCIS that you’re no longer working for them.

If they can’t find an employer, many H1-B holders choose to pursue student visas. However, it may not be necessary.

If you’re here on one of the more than 70% of all H-1B visas going to the tech sector, then you may find plenty of employers hungry to snap you up. And while they must file a form, you can usually start working for them before USCIS approves the transfer. Which is good, because delays are exceedingly common.

If you can’t get back in status, your employer must pay reasonable return costs.

Waiting to leave could be a bad idea if you don’t have a game plan. While you’re still in status, you can get your employer to pay the costs of your plane ticket.

And since accruing up to 180 days of illegal residency can bar you from re-entering the states for 3 years, or 365 for ten, it may be a good idea to head home while you continue to wrestle with your status.

Temporary employees may have been out of status for awhile.

The actions of temporary companies are fueling a great deal of the pushback surrounding H-1B visas. Often, they bring workers in and then don’t place them on job sites for weeks.

As a result, requests for evidence making it clear that a job is waiting every day that the visa is valid are piling up. And if you’ve been working for one of these companies, you’re out of status every day that they don’t put you on a job site. This can cause problems when it’s time to renew. You may want to seek legal help now.

Denials are up.

Even practically perfect applications are seeing lots of denials. Employers who try to fill out their own forms exacerbate the problem.

Whether you’re acting as a sponsor or the sponsored, it is not a good idea to go it alone. Transfer, new application, or renewal, it hardly matters: USCIS officials are looking for any reason to deny your application. Working with a good immigration lawyer can help tip the odds back in your favor.

See also:

The Line for Immigration Grows Longer, and Longer

Avoid These 3 Green Card Sponsorship Mistakes

What to Do If DACA Ends


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