H1B layoffs greatly disrupt the plans of foreign nationals who work in the U.S. with an H1B visa. In the past, there was no grace period for H-1B workers to find new employment or even to sell or otherwise dispose of personal property. However, with new regulations that took effect on January 17, 2017, foreigners who found themselves in this situation were given a 60 day grace period after their employment is terminated.
How to Go About A H1B Transfer
In an even of H1B layoff, here are some steps to take:
- Relax: Try as much as possible, not to panic. After all, you still have a valid visa, and your stay is still legal. Although you are out of a job, your stay cannot be termed “unlawful presence.” This is because the date on your I-94 document rules the question of “unlawful presence” for purposes of the three and 10-year bars. So since the date on your I-94 document has not lapsed, then you are not accruing unlawful presence.
- Hunt for A Job: This is key. Your job search must start as soon as theH1B layoff occurs. Make job hunting a full-time job. It is important that you invest time and energy into getting a job during this period of time.
- Stay Legal: Try as much as you can to maintain legal status. If your H1B was revoked by your former employer as at the time of your H1B layoff, then it is imperative that you file for a B-1/B-2 change in status as soon as you can. You will need financial evidence of your ability to stay in the country. You will need an itinerary that outlines your intent to leave the country at the end of the new status. In the event that your H1B status was not revoked as at the time of the H1B layoff, try to find a new employer then file a change of employer petition. However, if finding a new employer and getting a change of employer petition filed within thirty (30) days becomes impossible, then it is advisable that you apply for a change of status to B-1/B-2 visitor status.
Finding New Employment
H-1B workers are sometimes allowed to work with a new employer without waiting for their H‑1B petition to be approved. However, they must meet the following requirements:
- Legal admission to the United States
- Previous ownership of H-1B status and no illegal work since their last lawful admission to the country.
- The filing of a non-frivolous H-1B petition by the new employer
H1B transfers can be daunting for foreign workers. Most of these challenges stem from not being able to know enough about the process. Hopefully, with the directions in this article, you should be able to navigate the situation.