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How job loss could affect an immigrant with a work visa

On Behalf of | Jun 19, 2024 | Employment-Based Immigration |

Non-immigrant employment visa provides foreign citizens legal authorization to live and work in the United States. They can continue working a job domestically for several years. Most work visas are eligible for renewal at least once.

The employee who enters the country for a job can even bring their spouse and unmarried minor children with them Completely relocating a family can be expensive and stressful. The idea of needing to do so with little advance notice is a frightening one. That is exactly what employees may find themselves contemplating if they suddenly lose a job.

Do people face immediate removal from the United States if they lose the job that helped them secure an employment visa?

Workers have an opportunity to look for new employment

Most work-related visa programs include rules that lead to a worker losing their eligibility to remain in the country if they lose their job. However, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) also recognizes that many workers who qualify for employment visas can contribute quite a bit to the domestic economy.

Therefore, the USCIS does allow a worker who lost their job unexpectedly an opportunity to find new work. They can secure a new job and potentially update their visa. In other words, they aren’t at risk of immediately needing to relocate with their families.

Those with certain types of visas are eligible for a 60-day grace period after a termination. If they secure another job during that time, a filing can be submitted with the USCIS to acknowledge the change in their employment.

Many skilled and educated workers can protect their residence in the United States under this rule. Visas eligible for the grace period offered by the USCIS include:

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

Any dependent family members with visas attached to an employment visa can also benefit from the temporary USCIS grace period.

Also, the work may be able to file for a “compelling circumstances” employment authorization document, or file to change their status to visitor’s status or student status.

Understanding what options are available for those with work visas after a job loss is crucial for their stability. An entire family might otherwise experience a sudden and unexpected relocation if a worker does not have the right knowledge and support after a sudden job loss.