Workers in the country on H-1B visas can, unfortunately, end up losing the job upon which their status and visa depend. This may happen because the company who helped sponsor them for the visa lays them off, or otherwise terminates employment. In the current COVID-19 situation, reduced hours, job losses, and other changes can occur frequently and without advance notice, and it is advisable to seek advice from experts in corporate immigration law in Houston, TX.
Consequences of Losing H-1B Employment
While there are many advantages to having H-1B status, one disadvantage, as immigration law makes clear, is that someone’s immigration status is based on, and therefore dependent upon, their employment status.
Once someone ceases to be employed, they have a maximum 60-day grace period in which to either obtain another employer to sponsor them for H-1B employment, to arrange a different visa status allowing them to stay in the U.S., or make plans to head home.
When You Are Supposed to Leave the U.S.
Under immigration law, if someone is not applying to change immigration status in the U.S., then they have up to 60 days after employment ends to leave, or until their status expires if that is sooner.
A small consolation is U.S. immigration regulation 8 C.F.R. § 214.2(h)(4)(iii)(E), which requires H-1B employers to pay the reasonable costs of transporting H-1B workers back to their country of residence upon termination of employment.
The employer is not, however, required to pay the transportation costs of the employee’s dependents.