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What happens if you lose your job and have an H1-B visa?

As a skilled or educated employee, you qualified for a work visa. Your exceptional skills made you an ideal candidate for a job in the United States, and you were lucky enough to secure an H1-B visa when you applied.

However, your employer’s luck has not been as good as yours. Perhaps they have had low sales in recent months or have faced other losses. Companies sometimes have to make decisions to lay off or even terminate workers who are in the country on an employment visa.

When that happens, those workers are in a vulnerable immigration position. Are you at risk of deportation immediately after your employment ends?

There is a grace period for highly skilled and educated workers

You have no way of knowing when your employer might make an adverse decision about your role at the company, so you are at a disadvantage when they lay you off or terminate your position. They have time to plan before making that announcement, but you may have very little transition time. Often, such decisions are effective the same day that the company announces them.

Thankfully, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) extends a grace period to those who lose their job when they have a work visa. You can begin applying for other positions similar to the one that you just lost. Provided that you will secure new employment within 60 days of your job loss, you can potentially stay in the United States thanks to the new job. If you do not find a new position, you may need to explore whether you qualify under any other immigration program or begin arranging your travel home.

Time is of the essence when your employment visa is at risk

Taking prompt action when you lose your job unexpectedly will help you defend your right to stay in the country. The sooner you start applying for new work or different visa programs, the better your chances of success before the grace period ends. The more you know about immigration law and the more help you have, the better your chances of staying in the country after losing your job.

Learning more about the USCIS’s immigration policies will protect those working in the United States with an H1-B visa.