Amid continuous layoff in the tech sector as relief for laid-off India techies in the US, the USCIS has said that it is wrong to assume that the fired workers holding the H-1B visa have to leave the country within 60 days after their layoff, there are other options that they can use to stay. Until now, the employees with the H-1B visa had to find a new job within 60 days of their termination.
The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director Ur M Jaddaou in a letter to the foundation for India and Indian Diaspora Studies (FIIDS) said, "When non-immigrant workers are laid off, they may not be aware of their options and may, in some instances, wrongly assume that they have no option but to leave the country within 60 days."
Tech companies like Google, Meta, Microsoft and Twitter have laid off thousands of foreign employees in the US which include many Indians. Some were able to find a job, but there were many who were struggling to find a new job. In addition to the pressure of finding a job they had to do it within a time limit like 60 days.
FIIDS that has been working with the terminated employees with H-1B visa, had written to USCIS regarding the impact of the layoff wave of the Indian employees and was looking to increase the grace period of 60 days. In response to this letter the USCIS said that it acknowledges the financial and emotional impact on the employees that were fired and their families.
Here are few ways as suggested by the USCIS to stay in US after being laid-off:
You can file an application for a change of non-immigrant status and an application for adjustment of status. You can also file an application for 'compelling circumstances' employment authorization document or be the beneficiary of a non frivolous petition to change employer. According to the USCIS if any of these occur within the grace period then the non-immigrants period to stay in the United States can be exceeded, even if they lose their previous non-immigrant status.
The letter also stated that if you don't take any action within 60 days then you will have to depart from the United States within 60 days or when the authorized validity period ends.
The USCIS said that the change in the grace period of 60 years could not be extended by it through policy guidance as it would require a regulatory change in compliance with the Administrative Procedure Act.
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