Nonimmigrant Worker Termination – Are There Any Options?

If you’re a nonimmigrant worker, being terminated from your job can be a frightening experience. Not only have you lost your income, but if you were in the United States under an employment-based immigrant or nonimmigrant visa, your status might now be in jeopardy. This article seeks to discuss options available to nonimmigrant workers who’ve been let go?

Grace Period

First, you must understand that the United States government permits a sixty-day grace period for many nonimmigrants whose employment has been terminated. This sixty-day period provides some breathing room to find another job, transfer the visa to a new employer, or make arrangements for departure from the United States. Be sure not to stay in the country beyond the grace period; if you do, your visa will be subject to revocation, and you could face removal proceedings.

The grace period allows workers holding permits in the E-1, E-2, E-3, H-1B, H1-B1, O-1, L-1, and TN visa categories to have a grace period in the event that they may be terminated. It is important to note that this sixty-day grace period is strictly limited and will not be extended under any circumstances.

New Employer

If you find a new job within the grace period, your existing visa can be transferred from your old employer to your new employer. This process begins with filing a new Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker Form (Form I-129) by the new employer. The petition must include documentary evidence of the offer of employment and demonstrate that you meet all qualifications required for each nonimmigrant worker in your category. As soon as your petition is approved, you can begin working for your new employer without obtaining another visa. However, you may also be able to use AC-21 section 105 portability and being work upon the proper filing of the new H-1B.

Change of Status

If you’re unable to find another job or transfer your visa, you may be able to apply for a change of status. For example, if you were on an H-1B visa as a specialty occupation worker and are now unemployed, you might qualify for a B-2 tourist visa. To qualify for this change of status, you’ll need to prove that the purpose of your visit is solely pleasure or medical treatment, that you have sufficient funds to stay in the country without working, and that you intend to deport from the US when your visa expires.

Departure from the Country

If all else fails, it may be necessary for nonimmigrants who are terminated from their job to depart from the United States at the end of their grace period. This can be a tough decision, but, for some individuals, it is often the only option available. It’s important to understand that even if you must depart from the US after being terminated, you can still apply for a new visa at some point in the future.

Final Thoughts

Being terminated from your job as a nonimmigrant worker is never easy, and it can leave you unsure of what options are available. Be sure to take advantage of the grace period granted by the government in order to explore all avenues for transferring or changing your visa status; if all else fails, consider leaving the country until you may qualify for another visa in the future. No matter what steps you decide to take, remember that there are always options available to you. And of course, there is no substitute for seeking the guidance of a skilled U.S. or Canadian Law Professional who will be able to guide you throughout the process.

If you have any questions about how immigration and nationality laws in the United States may impact you or your dependents, please get in touch with our immigration lawyers at NPZ Law Group. We will be happy to supply you with the necessary information regarding the United States or Canadian immigration and nationality laws.
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