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Business News/ News / India/  Legal avenues for H-1B visa holders to extend stay and secure employment after job termination
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Legal avenues for H-1B visa holders to extend stay and secure employment after job termination

H-1B visa holders have multiple pathways to maintain their legal status even after job loss. Taking any of the actions within the grace period can legally extend their stay, preserving their nonimmigrant status despite employment changes.

H-1B visa holders have multiple pathways to maintain their legal status even after job loss.Premium
H-1B visa holders have multiple pathways to maintain their legal status even after job loss.

Understanding the breadth of available legal options is essential for H-1B visa holders facing job termination. 

The following options offer alternatives that can significantly extend their stay in the US beyond the typical 60-day grace period, providing crucial time and flexibility.

Extended Stay Opportunities Post-Termination:

H-1B visa holders have multiple pathways to maintain their legal status even after job loss. These include:

  • Filing for a change of nonimmigrant status;
  • Applying for adjustment of status;
  • Seeking a "compelling circumstances" employment authorization document;
  • Being the beneficiary of a nonfrivolous petition to change employers.

Taking any of these actions within the grace period can legally extend their stay, preserving their nonimmigrant status despite employment changes.

Immediate work authorization with new petitions:

Moreover, H-1B visa holders can begin employment with a new sponsor as soon as a fresh H-1B petition is filed on their behalf. Additionally, those who have applied for an adjustment of status can transfer this application to a new job offer after 180 days have passed, enhancing job mobility and security.

Preventing unlawful presence:

Filing a non-frivolous application to change one's status can also halt the accrual of unlawful presence, thereby avoiding legal penalties that could complicate future US re-entry. Eligible statuses include dependent, student, or visitor statuses.

Concurrent filing for self-petitioners:

Individuals eligible for self-petitioned immigrant visa petitions have the advantage of filing concurrently with an adjustment of status application. This not only allows them to stay in the U.S. but also to obtain an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), facilitating continued employment.

Special EAD for challenging circumstances:

In instances of compelling circumstances, beneficiaries of approved employment-based immigrant visa petitions may obtain a one-year EAD. This provision supports their employment continuity while they transition to lawful permanent resident status.

Considerations for expedited processing:

In situations of severe financial loss, expedited adjudication might be warranted. Although leaving the U.S. remains an option, H-1B visa holders are advised to thoroughly evaluate their legal alternatives, considering the implications for future re-entry and employer obligations.

Understanding these legal avenues is vital for H-1B visa holders facing layoffs, enabling them to make informed decisions during uncertain times and secure their presence and employment in the United States.

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Published: 15 May 2024, 01:17 PM IST
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