Businesses in the United States often require highly-educated and skilled workers to keep their organizations competitive. When they aren’t able to find enough talent domestically, they may start looking into international hiring.
Companies can potentially attract the best and brightest by offering them immigration opportunities, and workers can potentially fulfill a lifelong dream by entering the United States for a job. Employment-based immigration is one of the best ways for people to lawfully enter the country. Immigrant workers can often bring their spouses and unmarried minor children with them.
Unfortunately, employment immigration opportunities leave people in a vulnerable position. If they lose their job, they may also lose their right to remain in the country. Can a sudden layoff or termination automatically lead to the removal of an immigrant with a work visa?
There is a grace period for unemployed immigrants
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) oversees employment visa programs in part because highly skilled and educated immigrants contribute substantially to the domestic economy. Losing someone’s expertise simply because of hardship at the company that employed them would not necessarily be the best outcome for the community.
Therefore, the USCIS extends a grace period to workers on certain skills visas. The eligible visas include:
Workers with one of these visas will have 60 days from the date of their termination to obtain comparable employment elsewhere and thereby protect their rights to remain in the country with their family.
Employment visas come with unique challenges
Workers who secure an employment visa either through an intracompany transfer or a job offer often feel a profound sense of gratitude and loyalty toward their employers. They may hope to remain employed at the same company for the duration of their visa, and possibly even after that if they can qualify for green cards.
However, immigrants can better protect themselves if they both learn about the limitations of an employment visa and also other immigration programs in case a situation like a job loss leaves them ineligible for their employment visa. Exploring the issues that can arise when someone enters the United States on an employment-based visa can help them plan for the unpredictable with the assistance of a legal professional.