Considering Meta and Twitter's recent layoffs some affected H-1B workers are devastated to learn that in addition to losing what they often consider their “dream Job” but also, they run the risk of losing their visa status in the US.
If you are laid off from your H-1B job, please do not despair. As an H-1B laid off worker you have the right to:
- Be given a written notice of their termination
- Any separation must contain the same terms and conditions provided to US workers who are also laid off by your employer
- Have your H-1B employer pay for the return trip to your home country or place of last residence. Please note that the employer is not responsible for the transportation costs of your spouse and children.
In addition, you are allowed a grace period of up to 60 days to remain in the US in lawful status. This provision also applies to workers in E-1, E-2, E-3, H1B, H1B1, L-1, O-1, and TN status, as well as their derivative dependents. Therefore, it is important for you to try to seek a new employer willing to sponsor you for an H-1B. Having been counted against the H-1B cap gives you a leg up in the process because it allows you start work for your new employer as soon as your new employer's H-1B has been filed, a case number has been assigned and a receipt notice issued.
When an employer decides to withdraw an H-1B petition because of the layoff, you may become ineligible to request a change of employment through USCIS and will be deemed out of status, depending on the timing of the revocation through USCIS as they may take a few months to effectuate revocation. As such, it is important to find a new H-1B employer if you are aware of your H-1B employer's intention to revoke your H-1B petition within your 60-day grace period
If you do find a new job and an employer willing to sponsor your H-1B, then make sure your new employer submits a petition for Change of Employer immediately, before the 60 days grace period passes and before the prior H-1B petition has been revoked. In most instances, you can find out whether your H-1B has been withdrawn and your H-1B revoked from USCIS's online case status system by entering the petition case number.
In some instances, you may need to have your new employer submit a new labor certification and visa petition on your behalf.
Other options would be to:
- Change your status to a B-1 or F-1 (Student visa), if possible.
- If your spouse is on an H-1B, you can change your status as their H-4 dependent.
- Return home and continue your job search from abroad. If you receive an offer of employment, then you may be able to return to the US in H-1B status.
If you have previously applied and been approved for EAD, you may continue to work in the U.S. using your EAD card, though you may no longer have an underlying visa status once the 60-day grace period passes. You will still need to find a new job, but the EAD status is a viable option for extending your work period in the U.S. and allow your new employer to weigh their options to see if they wish to sponsor you for an H-1B in the future.