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How Can Layoffs Affect Immigrant Workers in the United States?

 Posted on January 24, 2023 in Immigration

Dallas Employment-Based Immigration Lawyers

In recent years, the technology industry has seen a great deal of upheaval, and the economy of the United States and the world as a whole has also undergone some major changes. As a result, many companies have taken steps to reduce their workforce and lay off workers. More than 150,000 tech employees were laid off in 2022, and more than 35,000 layoffs have already occurred in 2023. These layoffs have hit immigrant workers especially hard. For those who have entered the United States on employment-based visas, the loss of a job may affect their immigration status, and they may need to determine what steps to take to avoid being forced to leave the country.

Layoffs for Workers on H-1B Visas

Many people in the tech industry have been able to receive H-1B visas that allow them to enter and live in the United States through sponsorship from U.S. employers. H-1B visas are available for people in specialty occupations, and a person is generally required to have a bachelor's degree or higher, as well as the ability to apply highly specialized knowledge in their field. H-1B visas are temporary, non-immigrant visas, and they are typically valid for up to three years, although they can be extended.

A worker living in the U.S. on an H-1B visa may be able to apply for a Green Card, and they may be able to receive an EB immigrant visa after being sponsored by their employer. However, there are only 140,000 of these visas issued each year, and only 7 percent of these visas may be issued to immigrants from an individual country. The majority of workers who receive H-1B visas are from India or China. Since only 9,800 EB visas can be issued to people from each country each year, and these visas are divided among multiple categories, this has led to long wait times for immigrant workers who apply for Green Cards.

If an employer lays off a worker who is on an H-1B visa, the immigration status of that individual may be affected. In these situations, an immigrant worker will need to take steps to find another job within 60 days or before the expiration of their H-1B visa, whichever occurs sooner. If they are unable to find employment, they will be required to leave the United States.

When seeking new employment, a person will usually need to make sure they are eligible for H-1B portability. Unauthorized employment may affect a person's eligibility for H-1B portability, so it is important to follow the correct steps when seeking new employment. A person's new employer must file Form I-129 (Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker) on their behalf, and this form must be filed before the date of expiration of the person's original H-1B visa. The worker can begin working for the employer on the date Form I-129 is filed or on the start date listed on the form.

Contact Our Dallas Employment-Based Immigration Lawyers

If you are an immigrant who has been laid off from your job in the United States, you will need to make sure you take the correct steps to avoid issues that could affect your immigration status. At John W. Lawit, LLC, we can advise you of your options in these situations, and we will work with you to make sure you will be able to avoid issues that could require you to leave the U.S. We can also help defend against deportation or address other immigration issues that may affect you and your family members. Contact us today at 214-609-2242 to schedule a consultation with one of our Addison employment immigration attorneys.


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