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Visa holders may have to leave because of layoffs

On Behalf of | Nov 22, 2022 | Immigration

The United States has relied upon a special visa program to attract educated, well-trained and motivated workers to come to this country for employment in specialty occupations, such as high technology.

But for these workers, the ability to stay in this county is being jeopardized by recent downsizing by Twitter, Meta, Salesforce, Zillow, Microsoft, and other high-tech firms.

H-1B visas

American immigration law permits the issuance of an H-1B visa for hiring non-immigrant aliens within specialty occupations. This program is intended to assist employers who cannot find sufficient numbers of qualified American workers.

Employers must pay these visa holders the prevailing U.S. wage in their occupations to prevent underpaying workers.

An H-1B visa holder may stay in this country up to six years. Extensions are granted under certain circumstances.


Laid-off H-1B visa workers usually have a 60-day grace period beginning on their last day of employment. These workers should begin to look for a new employer, especially one that is willing to sponsor and hire workers on an expedited basis.

Usually, it takes two to four months to receive a new job with an employer willing to engage in fast-track hiring.

With the number of recent high-tech mass layoffs, many H-1B visa holders may be unable to legally stay in this country. Problems can arise if they overstay in the U.S looking for work by over six months.

If workers leave this country after 180 days, they may not return for three years. If workers leave after a year, they cannot return for 10 years.

Leaving the United States and waiting for the job market to improve may be the best option for immigrants, especially if their term has not expired. A new employer may file a petition for a visa holder with remainder time even if they are overseas.

Employers often lay off visa holders first so they can keep qualified American workers.

Attorneys can aid in all phases of the immigration and visa process. They can help prepare the strongest immigration case under the circumstances.