Options for Unemployed Nonimmigrant Workers

In the ever-evolving landscape of U.S. immigration law, nonimmigrant workers often face significant challenges when their employment is terminated. Continue reading as we shed light on the available options for such workers as detailed in a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) report. These options provide avenues for these individuals to maintain their legal status in the U.S., even after their employment has ended.

The 60-Day Grace Period

Nonimmigrant workers falling under specific categories (E-1, E-2, E-3, H-1B, H-1B1, L-1, O-1, or TN) are granted a grace period of up to 60 consecutive calendar days or until the end of the authorized validity period, whichever is shorter. During this period, they may be able to maintain their nonimmigrant status if they find a new employer to file a petition on their behalf, or if they apply to change to a new nonimmigrant status.

Portability to a New Employer

The H-1B visa category offers an advantage known as 'portability', which allows H-1B workers to commence work with a new employer as soon as the new employer files a fresh H-1B petition with USCIS. Also, workers who have had an adjustment of status application pending for at least 180 days and possess a valid underlying immigrant visa petition can transfer the petition to a new job offer.

Change of Status

Another option is to apply for a change of status during the discretionary grace period. This could include changing to a dependent status, such as becoming dependent on a spouse. Certain dependent nonimmigrants may even be eligible for employment authorization.

Adjustment of Status

In some cases, workers might qualify to file a self-petitioned immigrant visa petition concurrently with an adjustment of status application. This applies to certain immigrant classifications, like EB-1, EB-2, or EB-5.

Compelling Circumstances Employment Authorization Document (EAD)

Workers who have an approved employment-based immigrant visa petition might qualify for a compelling circumstances EAD for up to one year.

Expedite Criteria

In certain situations, expedited adjudication may be warranted. This includes applications to change status to a dependent status that comes with eligibility for employment authorization.

Departure from the U.S.

Lastly, workers have the option to leave the United States and seek employment and readmission for any remaining period of their nonimmigrant status.

Immigration Support

While these options provide a semblance of hope in uncertain times, it is essential to note that not all these options grant employment authorization. Furthermore, each option comes with its own set of eligibility requirements and application processes. It is highly recommended to consult with an immigration attorney or expert to understand the best course of action based on individual circumstances.

If you are facing uncertain immigration circumstances, contact Smith Law Offices, LLC.

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