Explained: The B-category visa that allows laid-off Indian techies to stay in US longer
The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has said non-immigrant workers who lose their jobs might be under the mistaken assumption that they have just 60 days to leave the country. Here’s how you can extend your stay in the US to find another job
If you’re an Indian techie in the United States and you’ve been laid off, there’s finally some good news.
You can get more time to find a new job simply by changing your visa category.
Let’s take a closer look:
The H1B visa is a non-immigrant visa predominantly used by Indian IT professionals.
Typically issued for three to six years to employers to hire a foreign worker, it allows US companies to employ individuals in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise.
H-1B holders who have begun the green card process can often renew their work visas indefinitely.
The technology companies depend on it to hire tens of thousands of employees each year from countries like India and China.
The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on Wednesday said non-immigrant workers who lose their jobs might be under the mistaken assumption that they have just 60 days to leave the country.
#USCISAnswers: Many people have asked if they can look for a new job while in B-1 or B-2 status. The answer is, yes. Searching for employment and interviewing for a position are permissible B-1 or B-2 activities.
Learn more: https://t.co/zFEneq28L9⬇️
— USCIS (@USCIS) March 22, 2023
According to the USCIS, a non-immigrant can:
- File an application for adjustment of status
- File an application for a change of nonimmigrant status
- Filing an application for a “compelling circumstances” employment authorisation document
- Be the beneficiary of a nonfrivolous petition to change employer.
“If one of the given actions takes place in the span of 60-day grace period, the authorized stay of the nonimmigrants can exceed 60 days, despite the fact that they lose their previous nonimmigrant status,” the USCIS said.
As per Indian Express, one can file for a change of status to B1/B2 and continue to look for a new job in the meantime.
If you find a new job before the change is processed, then you can simply withdraw the plea.
But if the change is approved, you first need a work permit.
“If you are in B-1 or B-2 status, please remember you may not engage in employment within the domestic labour market (also known as ‘local labour for hire’) while in B-1 status or engage in any employment while in B-2 status,” the USCIS added.
But keep in mind that for the B1/B2 visa you need to provide evidence that you are capable of funding the stay as well as proof of ties to your home nation.
If an individual has travelled to the US on B1/B2 visa and wants to convert it into H1-B upon getting a job offer, the person can also request a change in the non-immigrant status to another category through USCIS.
In case of workers failing to take any action within the grace period, they and their dependents will have to depart the United States within 60 days or when their authorised period of stay expires, whichever is shorter, said the USCIS.
With inputs from agencies
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