Photo by Craig Whitehead on Unsplash
Recently, USCIS released a new webpage outlining the details of what happens after a nonimmigrant gets terminated from their employment, voluntarily or involuntarily. The full webpage can be found here.
First and foremost, workers facing termination on an E-1, E-2, E-3, H-1B, H-1B1, L-1, O-1, or TN classification have 60 calendar days as a grace period or until the end of the status validity, whichever is shorter, to maintain nonimmigrant status and find a new employer to file a timely petition on their behalf. This would allow the worker to maintain their nonimmigrant status. Alternatively, workers can change to a new nonimmigrant status, if eligible. If no new employment is found or a change of status application is not timely filed, the worker may be required to leave the US.
Self petitioners in EB-1, EB-2, or EB-5 may be eligible to concurrently file an Adjustment of Status application. These processes can lead to obtaining an Employment Authorization Document (EAD card) alongside other items given on the way to Legal Permanent Resident status.
And finally, while it is not ideal, the last resort option to a nonimmigrant worker is departing from the United States. Workers in H-1B or O status departing under involuntary termination are obligated by federal regulation (See 8 CFR 214.2(h)(4)(iii)(E) and 8 CFR 214.2(o)(16)) to receive coverage by the employer (or O petitioner) for reasonable transportation costs to the last foreign residence.
It is always difficult to lose a job. For a nonimmigrant worker, the worries and difficulties multiply tenfold since their status in the U.S. was compromised, oftentimes not by their own will. If you are facing or predicting termination from your workplace, contact my office at (630) 262-1435 to consider your options.