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New H-1B visas guidelines for non-immigrant workers following termination of employment


May 15, 2024

NEW DELHI: The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on Wednesday released new guidance for individuals holding H-1B visas who have recently lost their employment. This comes in the wake of significant job cuts by prominent companies such as Google, Tesla, and Walmart, which have had a profound impact on the lives of numerous H-1B visa holders.
When non-immigrant workers are terminated from their jobs, they may be unaware of the options available to them and might mistakenly believe that departing the country within 60 days is their only choice.Upon the termination of a non-immigrant worker’s employment, whether voluntary or involuntary, they may generally take one of the following actions, if eligible, to maintain a period of authorized stay in the United States:
– File an application for a change of nonimmigrant status;
– File an application for adjustment of status;
– File an application for a “compelling circumstances” employment authorization document; or
– Be the beneficiary of a nonfrivolous petition to change employer.
If any of these actions are taken within the 60-day grace period, the non-immigrant’s authorized stay in the United States can surpass 60 days, even if they lose their previous nonimmigrant status. However, if no action is taken within the grace period, the worker and their dependents may be required to leave the United States within 60 days or by the end of their authorized validity period, whichever comes first.
A non-immigrant’s status is usually based on an approved Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, or a subsequently approved Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, after admission.
The period of authorized stay generally includes the time during which a timely filed nonfrivolous petition or application requesting an extension of stay or change of status is pending with USCIS, as explained in further detail below.

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