Home / News / World /  ‘Laid off L-1 visa holders worse off than H1B’: 4 expert tips on what they should do to stay in the US

As thousands of laid-off work visa holders in the US are currently grappling to deal with the current situation, the experts are of the opinion that ‘L-1 visa holders who have been laid off are much worse off than H-1B visa holders’. Reasoning the same, immigration lawyer Robert Webber said that this is because L-1 visa holders ‘are likely subject to the H-1B cap lottery’.

Empathizing further, Webber noted that ‘Particularly brutal for L1 visa holders who are married and whose spouse has L2. L2 spouses must stop working when L1 spouse is laid off. A lot of lost income there.’

Over 200,000 IT workers laid-off in the US

Last week, a Washington Post article cited that nearly 200,000 IT workers have been laid off since November last year, including some record numbers in companies like Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Amazon.

As per some industry insiders, between 30 to 40 per cent of them are Indian IT professionals, a significant number of whom are on H-1B and L1 visas.

What L1 visa holders should do?

Advising on what L-1 visa holders should do in case they fail to find a job immediately, Webber suggested

  • You can still potentially file an I-539 to B2 visitor status to “buy time" to get your bearings. Then leave the US.
  • Quick, find an employer (cousin’s consulting firm?) to put you into the H-1B cap lottery. If you get lucky, you might be back by fall.
  • Cap-exempt H1B, that is, job offer from an employer exempt from the cap.
  • Change to B2 and then look for a school and seek an I-20 for student visa.

The expert further cautioned H-1B citing that if you have H-1B and you are laid off, your H-4 EAD spouse should technically stop working.

“People don’t always mention that and certainly, no one wants to hear it — although you could argue the H4 EAD remains valid during the 60 day grace period after an H-1B is laid off. That is a reasonable interpretation."

The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise.

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