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News Update: H-1 Lay-Offs

I Am On An H-1 Visa and Have Just Been Laid Off—What Do I Do Now?

by Edward R. Litwin, Attorney at Law

Introduction

Some individuals, who are in the United States in H-1 status, have recently been laid-off or are concerned about their future employment in the United States. They are concerned about the ramifications of a layoff on their H-1 status. This set of Questions and Answers will address these issues. However, this is general information and is not intended to be regarded as legal advice, as each situation can be varied and complicated.

If I am in H-1 status and am laid-off, am I considered to be out of status?

The current policy of the Immigration Service is when a person is laid-off, they are immediately out of status. That is their opinion, however, there is no law or regulation which states that. In fact, the Immigration Service is considering adopting a new policy that a person who is laid-off finds another job and files a new petition within 60 days of the layoff, will not be considered to be out of status.

I have heard that there is a “grace period” is that not true?

Depending on whom you talk to or what web sites you read, grace periods anywhere from 10-90 days are often talked about. According to the regulations, there actually is a “grace period.” However, it is valid only under one very limited circumstance. That is, there will be 10 extra days allowed on a person’s visa that is issued only for the first entry into the United States. Unfortunately, if a person has extended their stay or changed jobs, this “grace period” is no longer in affect. In reality, therefore, the vast majority of H-1 visa holders do not have any “grace period.”

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