The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has extended the time frame for H-1B visa holders to find new jobs, providing relief to thousands of laid-off foreign employees living in the United States. Previously, employees on H-1B visas had only 60 days after being fired from their current job to find a new one.
With the latest announcement, employees affected by layoffs can now stay in the country beyond the H-1B time limit of 60 days to find new employment.
It should be noted that many tech companies, including Google, Microsoft, Twitter, and Meta, have laid off thousands of foreign employees living in the United States, including many Indians.
The new rule gives laid-off foreign employees much-needed relief, giving them enough time to find new jobs.
Shift to B1/B2 Visa
To extend their stay in the United States to look for a new job, H-1B visa holders must change their visa status to a B1/B2 visa, which is intended for tourists or business travellers.
The USCIS tweeted that “Many people have asked if they can look for a new job while in B-1 or B-2 status. The answer is, yes. Searching for employment and interviewing for a position are permissible B-1 or B-2 activities.”
#USCISAnswers: Many people have asked if they can look for a new job while in B-1 or B-2 status. The answer is, yes. Searching for employment and interviewing for a position are permissible B-1 or B-2 activities.— USCIS (@USCIS) March 22, 2023
Learn more: https://t.co/zFEneq28L9⬇️
However, it is not permissible to engage in any kind of employment while on a B1/B2 visa.
Change of Status
When someone on a B1/B2 visa gets a job in the US, they must change their status to employment-authorized. Before they can work, they must first obtain a work permit.
In one of their tweets, the USCIS also stated that “you may not engage in employment within the domestic labour market (also known as ‘local labour for hire’) while in B-1 status or engage in any employment while in B-2 status.”
Before beginning any new employment, a petition and request for a change of status from B-1 or B-2 to an employment-authorized status must be approved, and the new status must take effect.⬇️— USCIS (@USCIS) March 22, 2023
Relief for Laid-off Employees
The extension of time to find a new job is a huge relief for foreign employees who have recently lost their jobs in the United States.
The new rule gives them more time to look for new jobs without having to worry about the 60-day time limit.
The USCIS has also clarified that people planning to work in the US can do so with a B1/B2 visa, which allows them to enter the country to look for work without a work permit.
In conclusion, the US government’s latest announcement brings relief to foreign employees living in the US on an H-1B visa who have recently lost their jobs. With the extension of time to find new jobs, employees can now look for opportunities without the fear of deportation. However, it is essential to note that B1/B2 visa holders cannot engage in any employment until they obtain a work permit.