Experienced Immigration Counsel

What will a job loss mean for someone with a work visa?

On Behalf of | Oct 19, 2023 | Uncategorized

Career success can lead to financial security. It can also create other opportunities for a professional. For example, some people may qualify for immigration opportunities in the United States because of their dedication to their careers that began abroad. Someone seeking a transfer to a domestic branch of a foreign company that already employs them or someone who applies for a job with a company in the United States as a foreign national might qualify for an employment visa. People in a variety of different professions could be eligible for a work-related visa.

Those who hold these visas can bring their spouses and minor, unmarried children with them to the United States in most cases. These professionals may understandably worry about what will happen if they lose their jobs after securing a work visa. Does a job loss automatically lead to someone’s removal from the United States?

Some immigrants qualify for a grace period after a job loss

Workers never know when an employer might downsize, laying off and firing dozens of employees at once. Minor performance issues or strained interpersonal relationships could lead to a specific worker losing their job despite being good at it.

When the worker terminated or laid off is a foreign national with a work visa, their right to remain in the United States could be at risk when they lose their job. However, certain workers have an opportunity to look for a new job elsewhere after a termination or layoff.

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will offer a grace period to foreign workers with certain qualifying visas. The eligible visa programs include:

  • E-1
  • E-2
  • E-3
  • H-1B
  • H-1B1
  • L-1
  • O-1
  • TN

Someone with a qualifying visa will have up to 60 days after their job loss to obtain a different position elsewhere or submit paperwork allowing them to qualify for a different immigration opportunity.

Particularly when someone has traveled with their family members and worries about how they would adjust to relocating again after a job loss, making use of that grace period may be the best option for the family. Seeking legal guidance and learning more about the rules that govern certain work visa programs may benefit those who enter the country to work a job stateside.